Monday Nov 05, 2007

Red Hat joins the Free Java Party in a big way

A while ago when Sun first announced that it was open sourcing the Java platform, Red Hat joined members of the community in voicing their support.  In fact they even put a big thank you on their home page.

This morning they've gone even further and turned their kind words into action by announcing that they have signed Sun's contributor agreement (SCA).   By signing the SCA, all Red Hat engineers are now able to participate in any and all of Sun's Free and open source projects. 

Maybe more importantly, and certainly more timely, in addition to the SCA, Red Hat has also signed Sun's Open JDK Community TCK License and have joined the OpenJDK community.

Iced Tea anyone?

By signing the TCK license Red Hat now has access to the test suite (TCK) to verify that whatever JDK derivatives they create are fully compatible with the Java SE 6 spec.  This is particularly good news for Free Java lovers everywhere since there still remains 4% of the JDK code that is encumbered (i.e. owned by 3rd parties who not agreed to open source their bits).  Over the past months, folks here at Sun have been working quite diligently in clearing these last few hold outs.

At the same time our folks have been burning the midnight oil, a bunch of the engineers with Red Hat/Classpath project have been putting in a lot of time working on their own completely Free JDK  playfully dubbed, "IcedTea."  Now with the TCK/SCA in hand this should drive greater alignment between the two projects and the IcedTea team will not only be able to contribute directly to OpenJDK, but also  test for compatibility.

This is good news for everyone.  The desire for a completely Free JDK, sooner rather than later, is not only of interest to Sun and Red Hat but was a big topic at FOSSCamp last week.  Now with Red Hat throwing their hat in the ring (sorry, I couldn't resist the bad pun) things should start happening a lot sooner to the benefit of GNU/Linux and other Free distros everywhere.

Thanks Red Hat and welcome!

Pau for now...

About

I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.

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