Red Hat Aligns With Sun On Open-Source Java For Linux

Linux developer Red Hat is aligning with Sun Microsystems on open-source Java development, announcing Monday that it has signed Sun's OpenJDK license agreement and will contribute to the open Java initiative.

Red Hat has also licensed Sun's Java Standard Edition (SE) technology compatibility kit (TCK), allowing it to measure whether a Java implementation derived from the OpenJDK project complies with Sun's Java SE 6 specification.

The moves pave the way for Red Hat to develop an officially compatible open-source Java Development Kit (JDK) for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Red Hat said it will use its OpenJDK code access to develop a Java Runtime Environment specifically for its Linux operating system, a step that would likely boost performance of Java applications running on Red Hat Linux. JBoss users, in particular, will benefit from a "highly optimized, accelerated runtime" for their JBoss middleware, Red Hat said.

Red Hat's OpenJDK embrace formalizes a strategy shift forecast earlier this year at JavaOne, where Red Hat engineer and veteran open-source developer Tom Tromey said he would argue internally for shifting Red Hat's Java development resources away from splinter projects and toward OpenJDK, the official, open-source core of the Java SE specification released this year.

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"My view has always been that one good implementation is better than competing bad implementations," Tromey said at the time.

Sun and Red Hat traded pats on the back in their Monday announcement of their development alliance.

"When we open-sourced our Java software implementation, we hoped to see just this kind of collaboration between the GNU/Linux world and the Java technology ecosystem," Sun software chief Rich Green said in a written statement. "It is a vote of confidence to have Red Hat, a leader in open source, engaging with the [OpenJDK] community on such a broad scale."

Red Hat in turn praised Sun's "courageous decision" to release Java as open source, and predicted "an era of accelerated innovation" stemming from broader community involvement in Java platform development.