Oracle and IBM have decided to work together on the development of an open source version of Java.
In 2006, Sun Microsystems announced that they intended to make their Java programming language completely open and available under the GNU GPL license. There are only a few components today are still not open source, which is where the OpenJDK project has come from.
Since then, Sun has been acquired by Oracle, which has lead to some concerns about the future of OpenJDK. Noticing the markets worry, Oracle has assured everyone that they will supports the OpenJDK project, and will continue to work with the developer community.
Today, Oracle and IBM have announced an agreement to work together to speed up Java innovation via OpenJDK, which has been presented as an open source implementation of the Java platform, the Java SE specification (Standard Edition), the Java language, the Java development kit (JDK) and the Java execution environment (JRE).
Oracle, who is seen as an increasing threat to open source software through their recent attack on Google for the illegal use of Java code in Android, has used this announcement to improve their tarnished image by declaring that the Java community is vital for the evolution of the Java platform.
IBM’s Vice-president for Open Source and Linux, Bob Sutor talks about the decision to work with Oracle being a "pragmatic choice". The effort made by the Apache foundation around the Java platform (Apache Harmony) will also be included in OpenJDK. IBM has therefore signalled the end of hostilities with Oracle, hoping that this will lift the uncertainties surrounding Java’s future.
For Bob Sutor, it is obvious that Oracle would never have made the TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) available to Apache. Apache Harmony would have remained an "unofficial and non-certified" project, and IBM would have instead decided to continue their Java development efforts in OpenJDK. It appears that Big Blue is looking to play a major role.