Monday, October 11, 2010

IBM and OpenJDK

IBM and Oracle are going to bring their combined resources together to collaborate in OpenJDK. The natural question arises about what this means for the Apache Harmony project.

Apache Harmony has always been clear about the goal of innovating on a compliant and compatible implementation of Java SE. It's also common knowledge that Apache have been requesting a compatibility test kit license for a number of years, and that a suitable license has not been forthcoming. There's little prospect of that situation changing.

So what's best for the Java ecosystem? I believe that compatibility is vital, and rather than risk divergence the right thing is to bring the key platform development groups together on a common codebase. Lessons learned on Project Harmony will be of value to OpenJDK, and I know there is immense mutual respect between the IBM and Oracle engineers.


AlBlue said...

IBM's official press release is here:

I've written this up at InfoQ here, if interested:

Anonymous said...

It would be particularly informative to see an analysis that connects this blog posting to the previous one.

maashaa said...

Tim, so what about you? And who will lead Harmony?

Dibyendu said...

This is great news and should have happened earlier.

It was disappointing when IBM started Apache Harmony instead of joining the already existing Classpath project; it seemed that lot of effort was wasted and duplicated unnecessarily. Of course, at that time, Java wasn't free, but when OpenJDk was announced, there was little sense in continuing with Harmony as the effort could have been spent more productively improving OpenJDK.

For many of us, quality of implementation is very important; and over the years a lot of trust has been built on the standard Java libraries and JVM implementations. To build that trust on a new implementation would be very difficult, given the complexity and size of the platform, therefore I am not sure how successful Harmony would have been as an alternative, given that OpenJDK was also available as Open Source.

Anyway, I think it is the right decision for IBM to join OpenJDK - it will make Java stronger and better.