In a move that could mean serious competition for Oracle in the Java space, Microsoft is previewing its own version of OpenJDK, a freely available long-term support distribution of open source Java.
Officially known as the Microsoft Build of OpenJDK, binaries of Java 11 for Windows, Linux and MacOS are available on microsoft.com. Microsoft is also releasing an early access binary for Java 16, the latest version of standard Java, for Windows on Arm. Microsoft Azure cloud users can try the version through Azure Cloud Shell.
The builds for Java 11 are based on OpenJDK source code, following the same build scripts as those used by the Adoptium of the eclipse project, formerly known as AdoptOpenJDK. Microsoft binaries have passed the Java Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for Java 11.
Announced on April 6, Microsoft Build of OpenJDK is a simple replacement for any other OpenJDK distribution in the Java ecosystem. Microsoft is committed to supporting Java 11 at least until 2024. OpenJDK binaries for Java 17 are expected by the end of this year. Microsoft will support Java 8 Eclipse Adoptium binaries on Azure Managed Services offering Java 8 as a target runtime option.
Microsoft, with its Java version, surely has Oracle, with its popular Java versions Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK), in its sights. Microsoft has said that Java is one of the most important programming languages today because it is used for everything from mission-critical business applications to hobbyist robots. Microsoft has seen increasing growth in customer use of Java in cloud services and enterprise development tools.
Microsoft said his contributions to OpenJDK started as he learned the process and how to participate meaningfully. Over the past 18 months, the company has contributed more than 50 fixes for OpenJDK, covering areas such as MacOS packaging, build and infrastructure, and garbage collection fixes. Microsoft has also collaborated with Java Azul Systems Supplier and others to provide Java support.
The OpenJDK Microsoft Build binaries may contain backported fixes and enhancements that are deemed important to customers and internal users. Some may not have been officially backported upstream and reported in the OpenJDK release notes. Microsoft has said it relies on Java technologies for some of its own internal systems, applications and workloads; Java also powers some Azure infrastructures. The company deploys more than 500,000 JVMs internally, excluding Azure services and customer workloads.
Microsoft’s history with Java includes lawsuits by Java founder Sun Microsystems in the 1990s, with Sun alleging that Microsoft was distributing a version of Java that was not compatible with Sun’s, thereby violating the “write a times, run anywhere ‘from java. The trial was installed in 2001, Microsoft agreeing to pay Sun $ 20 million. The license agreement between the two companies has been terminated.
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