The future of OpenJDK6

Andrew Haley aph at
Wed Mar 13 10:02:29 PDT 2013

Oracle ended public updates of JDK6 at the end of last month.  Many
people seem to have concluded that the OpenJDK6 project will therefore
end at the same time.  This is incorrect: OpenJDK6 will continue, but
will be maintained by the community outside Oracle.

This will require some infrastructure changes.  In particular, because
we are to maintain OpenJDK6 outside Oracle we need a bug database to
which we have full access.  At present, only people inside Oracle can
create and update bug reports.  Oracle intend to rectify this
situation sometime in the summer, but in the meantime we need
something we can use.  I therefore propose to create an OpenJDK 6
project on and use a JIRA bug database there.  Once Oracle
has a fully-open bug database we can transfer bugs to it.  While I'm
aware that this is not ideal, I believe it is the only way that we can
run this project independently of Oracle.

A few questions I've been asked:

* What will be the policy for future changes?

OpenJDK 6 is a legacy project.  People only use it because they want
long-term stability and compatibility.  Therefore, only changes that
fix significant bugs should be made.  This is not a policy change from
that discussed on

* What about security updates?

We'll back-port them as they arrive and commit them to OpenJDK 6.
However, there may be some delay because of the effort and testing
that back-porting requires.  Therefore, if you want the most secure
and up-to-date version of OpenJDK, you should update to OpenJDK 7.
We'll also fix any security bugs that are found in OpenJDK 6 alone,
but again there may be some delay.

* What about Windows/Mac/etc builds?

I really don't know.  If the Windows/Mac/etc community want to get
involved, then there will be updates for those platforms.  If not,
there won't be.  It's up to them.

* How long will this project continue for?

The duration of support for OpenJDK 6 depends on how active its
developers remain as part of the OpenJDK community.  As things stand
today, Red Hat (my current employer) is taking the lead in supporting
the OpenJDK 6 project.  It is conceivable that this project will be
maintained beyond the duration of Red Hat's commitment.  That
ultimately depends on the community.

Finally, this is a significant moment for OpenJDK.  We look forward to
working with the wider community of OpenJDK 6 users and developers on
this project.


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