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Amazon Steps in with Free LTS for its Corretto OpenJDK Distro

The recent announcement that Amazon Web Services (AWS) will be providing Java developers with a no-cost, fully supported OpenJDK distribution came as welcome news in the face of Oracle's decision to end free long-term support for OpenJDK after January 2019. Dubbed Amazon Corretto, the new dev kit comes with long-term support that Amazon says will include performance enhancements and security fixes.

Arun Gupta, principal open source technologist at AWS, described Corretto in a blog post as a "multiplatform, production-ready distribution of OpenJDK," which Amazon has used internally on "thousands of production services." And he addressed the support issue directly.

"Many of our customers have become concerned that they would have to pay for a long-term supported version of Java to run their workloads," he wrote. He pointed to the AWS "re-affirmation" in October that the organization will continue to provide free long-term support for the OpenJDK 8 and OpenJDK 11 Java runtimes in Amazon Linux 2 "at least" through June 30, 2023. Amazon Corretto, he wrote, will receive no-cost, long-term support, with quarterly updates that include bug fixes and security patches. AWS runs the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) on each Corretto release to ensure compatibility with the Java SE platform, he said.

"We downstream fixes made in OpenJDK, add enhancements based on our own experience and needs, and then produce Corretto builds," Gupta said. "In case any upstreaming efforts for such patches is not successful, delayed, or not appropriate for OpenJDK project, we will provide them to our customers for as long as they add value. If an issue is solved a different way in OpenJDK, we will move to that solution as soon as it is safe to do so."

AWS will also provide "urgent fixes" to customers outside of the quarterly schedule, he said.

Gupta included a supporting quote from James Gosling in his post. Gosling, who created Java back in 1994, joined AWS earlier this year as a distinguished engineer. "Amazon has a long and deep history with Java," the quote reads. "I'm thrilled to see the work of our internal mission-critical Java team being made available to the rest of the world."

Gosling led the official unveiling of the preview release of Corretto (called Corretto 8 and corresponding with OpenJDK 8) at the Devoxx BE conference in Antwerp, Belgium. Not surprisingly, he has been promoting the news on Twitter, where he describes Corretto as "the externalization of the OpenJDK distribution that Amazon uses internally," adding: "If you're an Amazon customer, you're almost certainly using Corretto already."

The Corretto 8 preview is available now for Amazon Linux 2, Microsoft Windows, and macOS platforms and Docker image. The company is planning for a General Availability release in the first quarter of next year. That release will include support for Ubuntu and Red Hat Enterprise Linux platforms, Gupta said. Corretto 11 builds corresponding with Open JDK 11 on these platforms will follow "with ample time for testing" before April 2019, he said.

The source code for Corretto available on GitHub. Corretto 8 is available for download. Documentation can be downloaded here.

Posted by John K. Waters on November 26, 2018