All change at the top

Red Hat take OpenJDK 6 reins from Oracle

Chris Mayer
OpenJDK31

Oracle’s role in OpenJDK6 diminishes with Red Hat picking up the baton to provide bug support

After Oracle
ended support for Java 6 last month
, Red Hat
have picked up the baton, assuming project leadership of the open
source implementation, OpenJDK 6.

Java 6 is still used by a high proportion of
enterprises
running mission-critical
applications, despite Oracle’s push for migration. The Java steward
will continue to offer

commercial support
for that version,
although it can be assumed that their focus is now squarely on
OpenJDK 7 and the incoming OpenJDK 8.

However the open source giant aren’t just stepping in to pick
up the pieces, as Red Hat now sit on the OpenJDK board, setting the
direction for the wider initiative. The company were accepted last
summer, but only chose to formally announce this now.

In fact, the Linux vendor
ha
s been involved with the open source
Java implementation since 2007, being the instigator behind the
OpenJDK build project
IcedTea.

The company’s long-time Java technical lead Andrew Haley will
represent Red Hat’s interests
on the OpenJDK
board
. He will also act as OpenJDK 6 Project Lead,
after Oracle’s Kelly O’Hair

stepped down
in January for unspecified
reasons.

Explaining the decision to take command of OpenJDK 6,
Red Hat VP and Middleware General
Manager
, Craig Muzilla said
that he
believes Java 6 still “plays an important
role” in today’s enterprises.

“It has had a profound impact on the creation and integration
of technologies that have ushered us into the 21st century, shaping
everything from banking and retail to transportation and
research,
” he said in a press release.
And Red Hat is leading the charge.”

Oracle’s need to focus on newer versions, with Java 8 just
around the corner, left a gaping hole in support for those running
legacy applications. As much as Java’s steward may not like to
admit it, many are still reliant upon the version released in 2006.
Oracle even pushed the EOL date back twice to allow more people to
migrate to Java 7.

Passing it off to a company that has great experience within
the open source Java community and a familiar face is logical, so
they can ensure the highest quality in later versions.

With the specification frozen, Red Hat’s main
job will be to fix bugs and ensure that any changes in OpenJDK 7
are passed down the line.

Their role on the OpenJDK board
means much more though, potentially creating a greater
community voice at the top table.

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