OpenJDK 6 and 6u10 features

There have been a number of inquiries about when the various new features of 6u10 would be available in OpenJDK.

OpenJDK 6 build 12 contained ports of bug fixes from a number of 6u10 component areas (corba, jaxp, jaxws, langtools). Most changes from the core jdk component area of 6u10 were not ported. The porting effort that took place of a relatively small number of bugs to a subset of the full OpenJDK code base was still a sizeable effort. The full set of changes made to the core jdk in 6u10 is many times larger with a proportionally larger porting cost. We at Sun do not plan to do a wholesale port of those 6u10 features from the core jdk to OpenJDK 6. However, over the coming months we will be porting those 6u10 features to OpenJDK 7 and we would welcome community assistance in backporting appropriate features from OpenJDK 7 to OpenJDK 6. (These jdk area features in 6u10 are separate from plugin and webstart functionality.)


Hi Joe,

Can you show a quick diagram of how the versions 6u10, OpenJDK6b12 and OpenJDK7 are related? And why was the 6u10 changes not developed on top of OpenJDK (so that it would be trivial to apply the changes to the OpenJDK tree?).

And is there a link to a repository for 6u10 so it is possible to trace the divergence between 6u10 and OpenJDK6?


Posted by Anders on November 02, 2008 at 05:20 PM PST #

Anders, here's a quick diagram:

6u10 is not developed on top of OpenJDK since SE 6 was branched off before OpenJDK happened.

There is no link to a repository for 6u10. Even if there was, it wouldn't be of much use to you without Teamware, the Sun-internal non-free DVCS tool used internally for SE 6 development.

Posted by Dalibor Topic on November 02, 2008 at 05:35 PM PST #

OpenJDK 7 (next Java release, open source for sure)
|----> OpenJDK 6 (totally open source)
[here be lawyers]
|----> JDK 6 (still not open source, but production ready) ----> 6u10 [x] you are here
|----> JDK 5 (not open source)

Ah, exactly what I was looking for. A shame that OpenJDK was not created of the JDK 6 branch.


PS When updating to the last betas of Ubuntu 8.10-i386 netbanking applets started crashing my firefox with the sun-java6 plugin. Which made me downgrade to the sun-java5 plugin. Have you noticed this also?

Posted by Anders on November 02, 2008 at 09:17 PM PST #

Anders, Ubuntu 8.10 includes 6u10 but I believe still enables the old plugin. I'm not sure why it would crash on you.

To enable plugin2 takes a little fiddling - I'm not sure exactly what right now.



Posted by James Stansell on November 02, 2008 at 10:31 PM PST #


Thanks for clarifying this. (I'm still hoping to hear that plugin2 will be added to OpenJDK in some way.)



Posted by James Stansell on November 02, 2008 at 10:33 PM PST #


A correction on the code genealogy of OpenJDK 6, OpenJDK 6 is a "backward branch" from JDK 7:

OpenJDK 6
OpenJDK 7 (development continues)
(lots of work by engineers and lawyers)
JDK 6 -> 6u1, 6u4, 6u10, etc.
JDK 5 -> JDK 5 updates, not open source

Sun's decision to open source our JDK implementation came late in the life of JDK 6 development and JDK 7 went out as open source only after JDK 6 first shipped. In our estimation, it was much easier to undo some engineering work in OpenJDK 7 to get back to a Java SE 6 implementation than to redo all the legal work of open sourcing JDK 7!

Posted by Joseph D. Darcy on November 03, 2008 at 01:42 AM PST #

Thanks RedHat and other IcedTea contributors.

Reading between the lines, Sun will never contribute Java Web Start and the browser plugin to openjdk.

I just hope there's sufficient documentation to provide a clean room outer-browser experience with the gcj-derived web plugin. And seamless integration with JavaFX in both applet and netx-based JNLP. A duplication of effort...

Sun has done a deal with Canonical to provide ubuntu packages but what's the point of the openjdk ones if a user expects all his stuff to work and then finds "oh dear, I should have downloaded the sun-java6 packages".

If Java is to make a resurgence on the desktop, the continued existence of binary-blob editions as a separate download supplemental to the GPL packages included on linux install ISOs is not going to endear Java to the masses.

I guess Sun still doesn't grok free software; witness the VirtualBox GPL editions missing functionality. What's the point when you have to download the "non-free" but still "free as in beer" editions to get any real work done?

Prove me wrong, Sun!

Posted by Pete on November 03, 2008 at 09:34 AM PST #

"Reading between the lines, Sun will never contribute Java Web Start and the browser plugin to openjdk."

Maybe I just understood nothing, but it sounded as the contribution _will_ get to openjdk, but 7 instead of 6. This not for boycotting opensource, but for lack ot time / resources.

But I'd like to focus on a more concrete problem. As a developer, I would like to know what should I do. I release applications that runs on Java 6 (still Java 5 on Mac OS X, but it's going to be dropped soon). I'd like now to get some advantages from 6U10 and at the same time I'd like to release for Linux using OpenJDK. Clearly, this could not be possible in some circumstances, depending of what 6U10 features I need. For some applications, I don't need the kernel incremental loader etc... but I need Nimbus (upon which I'd like to develop my own theme). Is/will Nimbus be part of OpenJDK soon? Generally speaking, a quick table with all the new 6U10 features and the forecast whether they will go to OpenJDK 6 or 7 would be really appreciated (out of euphemisms, would avoid a great mess :-)

Posted by Fabrizio Giudici on November 03, 2008 at 06:05 PM PST #

Pete, check out for the official word about the plugin & webstart.

Posted by Dalibor Topic on November 03, 2008 at 07:11 PM PST #

Fabrizio, Nimbus is not yet part of OpenJDK, afaik. The feature list for 6u10 is at , and the slide set from Danny Coward and Ethan Nicholas's session on 6u10 release at include a JDK 7 timeline that calls for a release of a preview middle of next year, and a final release by the end of the year.

That should give you a rough idea what the timeframe for the transition is.

Posted by Dalibor Topic on November 03, 2008 at 07:20 PM PST #

@pete: You are clearly referring to the DLJ bundles. The DLJ is not a private agreement between Sun and Canonical, the DLJ is a public project and you can learn more at .. We make no pretense at it being anything other than a less-icky closed binary license. The idea for the DLJ is to broaden the set of distros who can redistribute Sun's binary distribution. I've made a list on the javapedia ( of the known distros redistributing DLJ-derived bundles. My personal opinion as the DLJ project lead is that if-when-whenever we open source the "new plugin" that it removes the last strong reason for the DLJ to exist, and that the OpenJDK is a much better vehicle for the goal of Java adoption by Linux distros. I agree the current situation is less than ideal but it is still better than it was before the DLJ existed.

Posted by David Herron on November 04, 2008 at 02:48 AM PST #

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