New company will support OpenJDK 8 and 11 - we understand the situation

    Oracle is discontinuing support for older OpenJDKs for enterprise customers. But in this post, Red Hat will replace the company. We discuss the reasons for the decision and public opinion. / Pixabay / Tasos_Lekkas / PL

    Changing of the Guard

    In January 2019, Oracle discontinued free OpenJDK 8 and 11 support for enterprise customers. Now, security updates for older versions of the platform can only be obtained with a paid subscription to Oracle Java SE Advanced and Java SE Suite. For individual users, updates will be available until 2020.

    The situation worried the IT community. The biggest concerns are with Java 8, which is still the most popular version of the software platform. For example, it is used by Minecraft developers and is widely used in cloud environments . The Oracle solution, according to information security experts, could seriously damage the security of the Java ecosystem.

    The way out of the situation was offered at Red Hat. The IT giant claimed responsibility for the OpenJDK 8 and 11 updates. The company will support them until 2023 and 2024, respectively.

    Why the project is interesting to Red Hat

    The history of RedHat and OpenJDK dates back to 2007. Then the platform was not completely open - approximately 5% of the code was borrowed from third-party applications. Red Hat decided to correct the misunderstanding and together with Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) launched the IcedTea project . Its purpose is to remove all proprietary code from the OpenJDK code base.

    A year later, OpenJDK became open source, and Red Hat began to use it in their products. Since then, the IT giant has continued to participate in the development and development of the platform. Of recent updates, the company has proposed incorporating Shenandoah's garbage collection algorithm into Java to increase productivity.

    Red Hat is linked to OpenJDK by the fact that the corporation has one of the technical managers of this open source project, Andrew Haley. At Red Hat, he runs a team of Java developers. Earlier, Haley had already
    “intercepted” Oracle projects - he was responsible for OpenJDK 6 and 7. The “lifetime” of the sixth version was already over, and support for the seventh would cease next year ( table 1 ). Therefore, Red Hat has the experience and resources to oversee OpenJDK 8 and 11.


    According to analysts, the Red Hat solution is important in terms of information security. As we already said, many companies could be left without patches to protect their applications and services. Just before the announcement of Oracle about the termination of corporate support, the platform received a security update in which 254 bugs were fixed.

    “Many companies were faced with the choice: pay for a previously free product or switch from Java to something else,” comments Sergey Belkin, head of development at . “The Red Hat Initiative will give respite to users of older versions of OpenJDK and allow them to make an informed decision.”

    Andrew Haley also opposes the excessive commercialization of OpenJDK and believes that users of older versions should have the right to receive the necessary updates for free. Despite the fact that companies are still moving to Java 8 .

    But there is an opposite opinion - older versions of Java do not benefit the IT community. A number of experts are convinced that organizations in general should replace Java with more modern technologies: Python, JavaScript and Node.js.

    / PxHere / PD

    Who else does Java

    Earlier, Oracle refused to support the Java EE (Enterprise Edition) specification set, which describes the architecture of the server platform for the tasks of medium and large enterprises. The rights to the project in 2017 passed to the non-profit organization Eclipse Foundation and now the platform is called Jakarta EE.

    The Eclipse Foundation updates older versions of Enterprise Edition products and expands their functionality. For example, in early 2019, the GlassFish server update was released , which added compatibility with Java 8. In the future, the organization plans to integrate Jakarta EE with other popular open source technologies - Docker, Kubernetes, NoSQL.

    Another example is the JavaFX platform. It is designed to create mobile and desktop applications with a rich graphical interface. In 2018, JavaFX was isolated as a separate module and removed from OpenJDK. Gluon decided to support the platform. The organization recently released version 12 of Java FX, which added new features for Android applications related to WebView. Gluon plans to continue to update the product.


    Red Hat expects Java to "live" another 20-30 years. It can be expected that the corporation will continue to support older versions of OpenJDK and will remain one of its main supporters.

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