Red Hat Backs Sun's Open-Source Play

Linux distributor Red Hat signs a broad agreement to help Sun advance open-source Java.

Red Hat has plans to help Sun Microsystems advance the Java platform, particularly as it applies to open source.

The Linux distributor announced Nov. 5 that it has signed Sun's broad contributor agreement, which covers participation in all Sun-led open-source projects by all Red Hat engineers.

Red Hat also announced that it has signed Sun's OpenJDK Community TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) License Agreement. The agreement gives Red Hat access to the test suite that determines whether an implementation of Java SE (Java Platform, Standard Edition) platform that is derived from the OpenJDK project complies with the Java SE 6 specification.

Sun officials said Red Hat is the first major open-source software vendor to license the Java SE TCK in support of Java SE compatibility. To help foster innovation and advancement of the Java technology ecosystem, Red Hat will also share its developers' contributions with Sun as part of the OpenJDK community.

These agreements pave the way for Red Hat to create a fully compatible open-source JDK (Java Development Kit) for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, including the Java Runtime Environment, Red Hat officials said.

"I was very pleased just now to see that Red Hat has announced they are joining the OpenJDK community to work on and use the Java implementation being developed over there," said Simon Phipps, Sun's chief open-source officer.


Among the gains for Red Hat will be that customers will benefit from a highly optimized, accelerated run-time for JBoss Enterprise Middleware in a Linux environment, the company said.


Click here to read more about Sun's OpenJDK developer community.

One of the initial benefits of the agreement is tighter alignment with the IcedTea project, which brings together Fedora and technologies in a Linux environment. IcedTea provides free software alternatives for the few remaining proprietary sections in the OpenJDK project.

"I hope we'll see IcedTea become an OpenJDK project as a result of this," Phipps said.


"Red Hat fully supports Sun's courageous decision to open-source Java technology," said Sacha Labourey, chief technology officer of JBoss, a division of Red Hat. "Through these strategic agreements, Red Hat commits to contribute to the Java platform and distribute a compatible, open-source Java software implementation."

Rich Green, executive vice president of software at Sun, said the signing is "a vote of confidence, to have Red Hat, a leader in open source, engaging with the community on such a broad scale. When we open-sourced our Java software implementation, we hoped to see just this kind of collaboration between the GNU/Linux world and the Java technology ecosystem. It is gratifying to see the promise of open-source Java technology coming true with Red Hat's leadership."


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