Red Hat is taking over stewardship of the OpenJDK 7 project, at the moment a generation behind the current release of Java.
OpenJDK has served as the open source version of Java, providing a testing ground for Java features to be included in Oracle's commercially supported Java Development Kit. Red Hat will provide support, including bug fixes for OpenJDK 7, said Craig Muzilla, senior vice president of Red Hat's application platforms business. Red Hat leverages OpenJDK 7 in its Red Hat Enterprise Linux release.
"Most application developers, if they build an application based on a particular version [of Java] and they're going to put an application in production for a long period of time, it could be five, six, seven years, and they're running on a certain JDK, they want to make sure that there's somebody behind that," Muzilla said in an interview on Friday. "That's the role that we're playing in the community, and that's the role that we're playing at Red Hat."
OpenJDK 7 was the precursor to Java Standard Edition 7 and JDK 7, released in July 2011, which featured enhancements for multicore processors, parallelism, and dynamic languages. In April, Oracle discontinued public updates to Java Standard Edition 7, but Red Hat's move is not necessarily tied to Oracle's actions, Muzilla said. JDK 8, based on Java Standard Edition 8, was released in March 2015, with Java SE 9 due next year.
A driver of Red Hat's efforts, Java technical lead Alex Haley, expressed the need to move forward. "I am leading this project on behalf of the OpenJDK community because the community -- of which Red Hat is a part -- needs to keep OpenJDK 7 going," Haley said in a message posted to an OpenJDK mailing list. He stressed his intentions to lead the project while working together with the community.
In addition to serving as steward of OpenJDK 7, Red Hat also plans to spearhead projects intended to enhance OpenJDK, including the Shenandoah garbage collector and Thermostat tool for monitoring the Java Virtual machine.