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Red Hat Takes OpenJDK 6 Leadership Role

Red Hat developer Andrew Haley will assume the role of project lead for OpenJDK 6, the company announced last week, letting Red Hat "continue to help drive the future of Java and of OpenJDK."

Haley is a long-time Java technical lead and member of the OpenJDK governing board.

This announcement isn't headline-grabbing, but this "transition into a leadership role" underscores Red Hat's commitment to Java."We think that Java will continue to be a strong option for developers for a long time to come," Rob Cardwell, vice president of middleware strategy at Red Hat, toldĀ ADTmag. "What we're doing with OpenJDK 6 is continuing a trend we started years ago with IcedTea Project."

Red Hat has been involved in the OpenJDK since 2007, when it signed Sun Microsystems' OpenJDK Community TCK License Agreement. The TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) is the official test suite for compliance of implementations of Java Specification Requests (JSRs); they can only be provided by the spec lead of a JSR. Red Hat was the first big software vendor to license the TCK.

The IcedTea Project Cardwell referred to was a build and integration project Red Hat launched in 2007. Its aim was to make it possible to add OpenJDK to Fedora and other Linux distributions that require free software. A version of IcedTea based on OpenJDK was packaged with Fedora 8 later that year.

The board oversees the OpenJDK community and upholds its bylaws, but has no direct authority over technical or release decisions. Along with Red Hat's Haley, the list of current board members includes: chairman Georges Saab from Oracle, vice chair John Duimovich from IBM, OpenJDK lead Mark Reinhold from Oracle, at-large member Doug Lea from SUNY Oswego. The board also includes two "observers:" Ed Lynch from IBM, and Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa said he believes Red Hat's continued support and investment in Java -- especially given the company's success as an open source enterprise technology provider - give credibility to the company's "vision for the future of OpenJDK and goal of driving innovation in Java."

Haley blogs fairly frequently, and his posts are worth reading. His latest includes some details on the latest release of IcedTea. An earlier post does a great job of clarifying the security differences between running Java code from the command-line and running it via a browser plugin.

Posted by John K. Waters on March 12, 2013