OpenJDK TCK announcement

Andrew Haley aph at
Mon Aug 13 14:35:35 UTC 2007

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

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.


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