Sun Microsystems Inc. has announced the long awaited release of a fully buildable open Java Development Kit (OpenJDK) for the Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2).
Everything is open source, except for a few bits that were not owned by Sun and the authors couldn't be convinced to follow the GPLv2 license. For now these parts, mainly in the graphics and media libraries (for example the Java2D font rasterizer and sound library) will be supplied in binary form which can optionally be used by developers. Eventually it is expected that the free and open source community will invest the time needed to create open versions of these libraries as well.
Sun is also creating a governance framework to guide development of OpenJDK in the short to medium term. The Interim Governance Board will draft a new constitution for the OpenJDK community within the next year and then oversee an election to replace itself with a permanent body. "In an open source project, typically the community has a big say in how the project evolves," says Rich Sands, community marketing manager for the OpenJDK community. "There are ways to make sure most active members are committers to the code base. We will be turning over governance of the JDK Community with this board." Initial members include Doug Lea, Dalbor Topiç, Fabiane Biznella Nardon, Mark Reinhold, and Simon Phipps.
Finally, Sun will create a process to test compatibility against the open source code base. It remains to be seen if this will answer complaints from the Apache Foundation about testing for its implementation of Java, Harmony.