Zulu OpenJDK Adds Java 6 & 7 Support on Linux & Windows

Java runtime maker Azul Systems announced this week that its build of the OpenJDK, known as Zulu, is now available for both Java 6 and Java 7 running on Linux and Windows. Zulu is a compliant implementation of the Java Standard Edition (Java SE) 7 specification, which means it has passed the Java community's required Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) tests.

Back in July, Azul announced a partnership with the Microsoft Open Technologies group (MS Open Tech), to create a commercial version of OpenJDK specifically for Windows Azure. Then in September, at the annual JavaOne conference, the two companies unveiled Zulu for Windows Server and Windows Azure.

This release of Zulu is a multi-platform build of the OpenJDK that supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Desktop and Server, and CentOS Linux distributions. The company said it plans to support additional distributions in the future "based on community feedback." Along with Azure, cloud support includes Amazon AWS and Rackspace. This build also adds additional support for on-premise Windows deployments. The company also plans to support Java 8 when it is released, Azul CEO Scott Sellers told ADTmag.

"This is a free, 100 percent open-source solution that has been fully commercialized across multiple platforms," Sellers said. "What that means is that the Java community now has broad, multi-platform support for an enterprise-quality OpenJDK solution that has been tested rigorously -- almost hardened -- and that's something they haven't had before."

Zulu is a free, open-source build of the OpenJDK, but the company also announced a fully supported version of the OpenJDK, dubbed Zulu Enterprise. The enterprise version provides subscription-based service options that include, among others, support for major releases; access to bug and security fixes out of the standard release cycle; special features, such as Application Guard and dedicated Technical Account Managers.

The Sunnyvale, CA-based company's flagship product, Zing, is a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) based on Oracle's HotSpot JVM, a core component of Java SE. It's a "no-pause" JVM designed to eliminate Garbage Collection (GC) pauses, a long-standing challenge for Java developers. This pauselessness, which Azul calls "generational pauseless garbage collection" (GPGC), enables Java app instances to scale dynamically and reliably. Azul has long targeted GC, which Sellers has called the Achilles heel of Java.

Concurrent with this announcement, the company introduced Zulu Community Forums, which the company billed as an expansion of the Java community. The goal of the forums is to provide "a high-value resource for Java programmers, devops personnel, product managers and people interested in extending the reach of other powerful open source technologies that depend upon either Java or the JVM." Azul will moderate the forums. The content will range from "deeply technical materials to industry news," the company said. Membership is free.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].