Yes, we really are going to open-source the JDK

There was a small press event up in San Francisco this evening where Rich Green, Laurie Tolson (my boss), and Alan Brenner talked about open-sourcing the JDK and also (surprise!) Sun’s implementations of the Java ME CLDC and CDC platforms.

Some of press coverage is already available, but here’s a capsule summary:

  • Yes, we really are going to open-source the JDK.
  • We’ll release a couple of significant components by the end of 2006. (Calendar year, not fiscal year.) We don’t know exactly which ones yet, but the javac bytecode compiler and the HotSpot VM—among other things—are on the table.
  • The rest of a buildable JDK will be released in early 2007. Not all of the code will be available under an open-source license. Some nontrivial bits of encumbered code—that is, code to which Sun does not have the rights to ship as open source—will have to be shipped in a separate package for now. Over time we hope to replace all the encumbered code with open-source code—and yes, we could certainly use some help with that!
  • We don’t know which license we’re going to use yet. We do know that it will be an OSI-approved license. We also know that any particular license choice is going to disappoint some people, but we don’t see any way around that.

We’re not doing this in isolation—in order to succeed we want to learn from successful open-source projects how best to go about this. To that end we’ve already started conversations with a number of well-known folks in the open-source world (up at OSCON a couple of weeks ago, for example), and you’ll see more transparency as time goes on. Just today, in fact, we launched a new Open-Source JDK portal where you can learn more about our progress and also participate in an open forum.

So it begins. Watch this space, among others, for updates, opinions, and questions, and don’t be shy about letting us know what you think.


I spoke to Tim Bray at OSCON and he had the same message. Tim also mentioned that open sourcing the JDK is not an overnight process, a lot of code has to be looked through to make sure its 100% legal to open source. Either way, this is great news. I'm hoping that over the upcoming years we see the Sun JVM become more of a universal deployment platform/container for all sorts of languages (ruby, python, etc.)

BTW, I gotta say, you're weblog theme is prolly the cleanest one at, I wish I had copied it before! :P


Posted by Moazam Raja on August 14, 2006 at 06:05 PM PDT #

Good to know the details. Open sourcing Java & allowing community contributions would also (hopefully) help accelerate the development/porting of much needed features like the Isolation API & the MVM.

Posted by Bharath Ravi Kumar on August 14, 2006 at 07:08 PM PDT #


Posted by GameDevMike on August 15, 2006 at 03:13 AM PDT #

Welcome to the community, Mark!

Posted by Dalibor Topic on August 15, 2006 at 03:57 AM PDT #

Great news! Please, please, \*please\* - release Sun's JDK under a licence that will allow code flow between GCJ/Classpath and Sun JDK, in both directions. Pretty please?

Posted by Jimbo on August 15, 2006 at 09:45 AM PDT #

And Apache Harmony too! Pretty please with sugar on top?

Posted by Geir Magnusson Jr on August 15, 2006 at 02:32 PM PDT #

seconded. see my blog post.

Posted by Dalibor Topic on August 15, 2006 at 05:22 PM PDT #

[Trackback] I can hardly let yesterdays' announcement pass, considering the well orchestrated annoucement that the Java platform is accelerating towards the open source model. I am still conflicted as to the tangible benefits of this move, however it is interestin...

Posted by Jonathan Bruce's WebLog on August 16, 2006 at 02:40 AM PDT #

Great news! Still a few questions: Why the remaining hesitation? ("So it begins" - it began for a lot of people a long, long time ago) Will there be a commitment to keep the source along with associated extensions open, i.e. open in spirit or just for part of the map ...and obviously the big one you mentioned - which license?

Posted by Danny on August 16, 2006 at 06:48 AM PDT #

The blog mentions a Sun's implementation of J2ME CDC. But no details. Anyone has any? I'll appreciate it.

Posted by Stan Berka on August 17, 2006 at 08:43 AM PDT #


Posted by Matt Kanninen on August 21, 2006 at 10:37 AM PDT #

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