The FreeBSD Foundation has released a binary distribution of the Java Development Kit for its Unix-based operating system, FreeBSD, marking the first time the operating system has sported native Java support.
FreeBSD powers around two million servers and is one of only three server operating systems to have increased its market share over the past year -- Windows and Linux being the other two. By introducing Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.3.1, the organisation is hoping FreeBSD's growth will continue.
Wes Peters, a member of the FreeBSD core team, said in a statement: "This announcement hallmarks a new era of Java support for FreeBSD. Having easy to install binary Java packages will ensure that all users can enjoy the benefits of Java technology on the FreeBSD platform."
UK software developer Dom Bundy said that this is a significant development because no BSDs currently have native Java support. "The most important point is that this has been certified by Sun, which means it has been put through the 30,000 or so tests required for certification. You could always have supported Java, but it would require getting hold of the source code and then compiling it yourself -- now it is much easier," he said.
Justin Gibbs, the FreeBSD Foundation's secretary and treasurer, said the Foundation is already working on the next JDK update: "With the 1.3.1 JDK release behind us, the Foundation has turned its attention toward the 1.4.X JDK. The volunteers working on FreeBSD Java support already have us most of the way there. The Foundation is now financing efforts to accelerate the completion of this work," he said.
The Foundation is also providing OEM licences to FreeBSD distributors, enabling them to provide Java support "out of the box".
Netcraft, a company that monitors server usage estimates that around four million Web sites use FreeBSD, including Yahoo.
The FreeBSD Foundation's JDK is available for free download from the Foundation's Web site.