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Azure inhales open source Java implementation

OpenJDK, and all that JaaS

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Microsoft and Azul Systems have hoisted the open source Java implementation OpenJDK onto the Redmond's Azure cloud, giving developers access to the language on Azure's Windows-based cloud services.

The news was announced by Azul Systems at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday. The OpenJDK for Windows Server on Windows Azure technology should be available "later this year," Azul said in a canned statement.

Oracle is already bringing its database, middleware and, yes, Java, to Windows Azure, so the arrival of OpenJDK on Azure will give developers that want to avoid Oracle Java choice when chugging Java-as-a-Service from Windows clouds.

Azul Systems will develop a "fully compliant and certified release" of OpenJDK 7 using its OpenJDK Community TCK License Agreement for Java SE 7. It hopes to, eventually, do OpenJDK 8 as well, George Gould, Azul's veep of Business Development, told The Register. "It will be fully integrated into the Azure Eclipse PaaS IDE."

At the moment, the only way a developer could run OpenJDK on Azure would be by spinning up an Azure infrastructure-as-a-service Linux instance, or by hacking together their own Windows-friendly implementation of the technology, Gould said.

With Azul's involvement, this process has been simplified and the language implementation will now be available on both Azure's IaaS and PaaS before the year is out.

Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed, but Gould said it was a "multi-year" effort, and Microsoft's senior director of Open Source Communities, Gianugo Rabellino, told us that Azul would be receiving "compensation" for its engineering efforts.

Microsoft's wholly-owned subsidiary Microsoft Open Technologies will provide expertise to Azul Systems to help it develop the technology.

"We are going to provide Windows Azure subject matter expertise in terms of talking with the Azul engineers," Rabellino, said. The company will also provide the tooling and ship an eclipse plugin, he said.

Microsoft's cloud doesn't have an actual sign on it saying "give me your tired, your poor, your hungry," but it might as well given Redmond's recent flurry of technical announcements, price cuts, and boasts about the huge infrastructure capacity available on its public cloud. OpenJDK is available on other major clouds from Amazon and Google via use of rented Linux instances. ®

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