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The DLJ project is dead - long live the OpenJDK

Posted by robogeek on December 19, 2011 at 12:38 PM PST

There appears to be over-reacting and fearism concerning a recent decision to cancel the DLJ project, and subsequently Ubuntu's plan to remove DLJ-based Java packages from their repository.  I'm totally out of the loop of this except for a couple things.  As the former DLJ Project Lead I was still vaguely involved with the management of that project, and recently there was an email exchange between myself, Dalibor and Tom where we decided it would be best to just shut down the DLJ because the OpenJDK had proceeded far enough that the DLJ was simply unnecessary.

Some blog postings on and came to my attention where there are many comments along the lines of "OMG THE SKY IS FALLING AND ORACLE IS EVIL".  Well, sigh. 

There's nothing to worry about here.  It's really very simple.

The DLJ Project was launched at JavaOne 2006 when it looked unlikely that Sun's Java implementation would ever be open sourced, we devised the DLJ Project to provide JDK bundles under a liberal license.  It was meant to help the community easily have a good quality Java implementation on Linux, but then the new CEO declared the creation of the OpenJDK project from the stage of that very same JavaOne.  

Over the course of time the OpenJDK project became really good and it was no longer necessary to maintain the DLJ project.

There's nothing EVIL here .. it's simply that the DLJ project became irrelevant.

Dalibor had a nice post about this a few months ago -

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Of course the sky is not falling and there's too many guys ...

Of course the sky is not falling and there's too many guys around who like to spread FUD.

But, as it has been said, OpenJDK 6 is not suitable in a relevant number of production installations, as there are still too many bugs and it differs too much from Sun/ Oracle Java 6. Of course, you can manually install Sun / Oracle Java 6 (it's what my customers and I have done) and you're fine. DLJ was eventually to die, but its retirement happened too early. You should have waited about one year, when JDK 7 is more spread - I think that for JDK 7 the differences between the Oracle version and the open one are not relevant any longer. 

At best, I don't understand the move.  We run services ...

At best, I don't understand the move. We run services in production that depend on Oracle/Sun java. Our production machines are debian or ubuntu based. Now with the change, the ubuntu machines, if they are updated, will *DELETE* java off the systems. The retiring of the license might sound benign, but pulling the rug out from production systems is not. One might say that openjdk is an alternative. For production quality performance and stability for things like Apache Cassandra, openjdk in the 6 line just doesn't work. Hopefully openjdk 7 will offer something closer to the oracle/sun version.

I don't know what the thinking was behind the move beyond what was published. However, as a member of the open source community and one who would like to depend on Java for production systems, the move is a puzzling one. It gives Oracle a huge black eye... again... and drives home the point that oracle simply doesn't understand open communities. I don't mean to be harsh, but that's really the reality of the perception after the problems with the asf (and others), openoffice, hudson, and now jdk rug pulling debacle.

 Hi jeromatron, I work in the Java SE PM ...

Hi jeromatron, I work in the Java SE PM team.

Just to be sure we're on the same page - you can still use Sun/Oracle JDK - all that changed is where/how you get your bits. You're not being forced to use OpenJDK if you don't want to. You can still head to Oracle/ and grab the latest JDK for Linux. I can't speak of specifics from your linux distro, every one handled this differently, but there was a comment on Slashdot that explained how the Gentoo folks handled the retiring of the DLJ back in August - and here's how the Debian folks handled it in August and then finalized their plan in October -

- Don

Don, do you understand the difference between manual updates ...

Don, do you understand the difference between manual updates and integrated updates? By discontinuing the DLJ Oracle has forced everyone relying on the Sun JRE to manually updates its installation, which is really painful.

The DLJ should have been preserved for Java 6, and simply not granted to Java 7. This would have been professional and respectful of the users.

Thanks for some context.  We just received the news ...

Thanks for some context. We just received the news about an update to Java from canonical actually deleting Java and it seemed really strange. I know the particulars are probably involved, but it seems like it would have been much simpler to tie the retiring of the license to JDK7+, especially since there's that big gap in patches between openjdk 6 and sun/oracle jdk 6.

WRT the open source community, it's been a rough year or two for Oracle. I really hope that things go well with OpenJDK 7.


Maybe I shouldn't have spoken up - because I haven't ...

Maybe I shouldn't have spoken up - because I haven't been in a role to speak for any of this for a long time.  I agree that pulling the rug out from under you isn't exactly friendly, but what could the Ubuntu team have done?  By canceling the DLJ they didn't have much choice but to delete the packages from their repository.  GUESS::- I suppose that deleting the installed DLJ-based JDK is necessary because of the alternatives mechanism?

Unless something changed over the last three years the Ubuntu/Debian package for the DLJ bundles is not owned by Oracle, but by Canonical.