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08 March 2013, 11:14

Red Hat steps up to take over OpenJDK 6 leadership

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Red Hat logo As Oracle brings to an end public updates of Java 6, Red Hat says it has assumed leadership of the OpenJDK 6 community. OpenJDK is the open source implementation of the Java specification and Red Hat has been active within the community, especially since 2007 when it came to an agreement with Sun Microsystems to collaborate around the then newly open sourced Java. Oracle is now the owner of Java and posted Java 6 Update 43 on Monday, as what it says is the last public update of Java 6. The company is now encouraging users to migrate to Java 7 or buy support for Java 6. The end of public updates for Java 6 also means the end of Oracle security updates for OpenJDK 6.

Red Hat's move is, it says, "effectively extending support for the technology and its users". This means that users of OpenJDK should have another option: continue with OpenJDK 6, as Red Hat will be, it is assumed, applying appropriate fixes and patches in future to ensure that OpenJDK 6 continues to be supported and viable. Many fixes for Java 7 could easily be backported to OpenJDK 6. Red Hat would be particularly interested in doing that as it has many enterprise customers running its range of Java-based JBoss middleware.

Those customers, who are likely already running OpenJDK on Red Hat servers, will find that Red Hat's commitment protects their current investments. Other users who are using Oracle's Java 6, will have to consider whether to migrate to Java 7, buy Oracle support, or consider a sideways migration to OpenJDK 6. Oracle had already commuted Java 6's end of life in 2012 because Java 7 was so late: first to November 2012 and then to February 2013. It is worth bearing in mind that most of the recent security patches for Java have concerned the Java web plugin, a component that in not used that often in enterprise deployments of Java applications.


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