Subject: OpenJDK TCK announcement
Date: Monday 13th August 2007 14:35:35 UTC (over 10 years ago)
We at Red Hat are delighted to see that Sun will make good their promise to make the Java TCK available to OpenJDK implementations. This certainly takes us a step closer to fully free Java. However, I have a couple of reservations. Just to get those out of the way first: 1. Of course I'm disappointed that the TCK isn't going to be available to all GPL'ed Java implementations, including those not based on OpenJDK. I had hoped to get the Java Compatible stamp of approval for GCJ. 2. More seriously, I'm concerned about how the confidentiality clauses will work out in practice. Hitherto we have shipped testsuites with the packages that we're testing, so that everyone who rebuilds a package can rerun the tests. Also, we have never had the convention in the free software world of holding our discussions on private e-mail lists, and I doubt that it will work very well. The confidentiality clauses will make it difficult (or impossible) to integrate TCK testing into the Fedora release process. Nevertheless, as far as I'm aware there is nothing to stop us within Red Hat from running the TCK on a Fedora OpenJDK package, and I expect we will. Other developers will doubtless do so as well. I really hope that we will be able to run the TCK on the OpenJDK soon. In fact I would have liked to start testing immediately! Never mind: IcedTea is a technology preview that's available today, and from our own tests we know that it works very well. For the time being we can live with IcedTea not being officially Java[TM]. We would welcome early access to the Java 1.6 TCK so that we could do some testing on what we have at the moment, even if we weren't able to use it to claim Java compatibility. Is a compromise possible here? It's worth going over a little bit of history at this point: if the entirety of OpenJDK had been free software we would almost certainly have shipped it in Fedora (and, later, Red Hat Enterprise Linux) as it was. However, parts of it were not (and still are not) free software, so we had to create the IcedTea package to fill the gaps. As we've said from the start, the purpose of IcedTea is to provide the infrastructure for constructing a completely free implementation while Sun continues to free more of the OpenJDK. It has been somewhat frustrating that we haven't been able to work more closely with Sun on ironing out these problems, but there are still some legal issues to sort out, and opening up Sun's well-established processes is doubtless a huge sink of time. However I must point out that even given these problems we in the free software community are in a far better position today than we were with GCJ (and other free VMs) and GNU Classpath: with IcedTea based on the OpenJDK code base we are much closer to Java compatibility. I'm very excited by the prospect of a 100% free and 100% compatible Java, and I'd like to thank Sun for that. But still, there is work to be done. Andrew.