For the first time, upcoming versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) will include a fully compatible, open-source Java Development Kit (JDK) integrated into the operating system.
In an announcement yesterday, Red Hat said it has signed two agreements with Sun Microsystems to help foster Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) integration and compatibility with future releases of RHEL.
Under the deal, Red Hat has signed Sun's broad contributor agreement, which covers participation in all Sun-led open-source projects by all Red Hat engineers, and it has signed Sun's OpenJDK Community Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) License Agreement. The TCK agreement gives Red Hat access to the test suite that determines whether an implementation of Java SE complies with the Java SE 6 specifications. The agreements pave the way for Red Hat to create a JDK for RHEL, including the Java Runtime Environment.
Shaun Connolly, vice president of JBoss products at Red Hat, said the deal is a good one for RHEL users because it will help to finally create "one of the key missing ingredients of the open-source stack," an open-source JDK implementation for RHEL. "We feel this will help accelerate the direction and innovation and performance ... by letting the larger community, the larger collection of eyeballs, get access to that," Connolly said.
By integrating the JDK into Red Hat operating systems, corporate users will be able to get help directly from Red Hat rather than through third-party providers, he said.
The JDK will first be included in a release of Red Hat's Fedora community-based Linux operating system, where it will be developed and tested before being included with RHEL, Connolly said. He added that he is not sure when the JDK will make its way into RHEL.
"It's going to take a while for this to finish up in the open-source community" within the Fedora project, he said. "I'd like to see it as soon as possible ... but stable [Fedora] community releases have to land first before we package it up for customers.
"There's a lot of customers interested in driving performance enhancements and who now will be able to participate in making these things happen," Connolly said.
Under the deal, Red Hat will share its developers' contributions with Sun as part of the OpenJDK community. Red Hat will have full access to the OpenJDK code base as well as to the Java SE 6 TCK to eventually deliver a Java Runtime Environment for Red Hat Enterprise Linux to enhance Java software applications. Red Hat customers will gain an optimized, accelerated runtime for JBoss Enterprise Middleware in a Linux environment, according to Red Hat.
"Sun welcomes Red Hat to the OpenJDK community," Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun, said in a statement. "It is a vote of confidence to have Red Hat, a leader in open source, engaging with the community on such a broad scale. When we open-sourced our Java software implementation, we hoped to see just this kind of collaboration between the GNU/Linux world and the Java technology ecosystem. It is gratifying to see the promise of open-source Java technology coming true with Red Hat's leadership."