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AdoptOpenJDK to Become Eclipse Adoptium

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The AdoptOpenJDK project, known for producing vendor neutral builds of the OpenJDK project, is to move to the Eclipse Foundation and become Eclipse Adoptium. The technical steering committe, who looks after the AdoptOpenJDK plans, confirmed in a blog post that they had agreed the move with the Eclipse Foundation. A public issue on GitHub offers a place to provide feedback on the decision.

The Adopt project has been sponsored by the London Java Community, an independent organisation sponsored by RecWorks and others, but the structure and legal cover has been provided by volunteers and sponsors. By moving the organisation to Eclipse, which has very strong IP governance and legal support, the Adopt project can focus on what it does best while delegating the supporting functions to the Eclipse Foundation. Both the London Java Community and the Eclipse Foundation are members of the Java Community Process Executive Committee.

While Adopt is most well-known for producing OpenJDK runtimes, the organisation also hosts a number of other projects as well. This includes Chris Newland's popular JITWatch tool, used for seeing how Java code is compiled by the JIT; jlink.online, a tool for generating smaller runtimes in a browser; the OpenJDK homebrew tap to allow easy installation on macOS, and more.

The projects are moving because they have reached a certain level of maturity and it was felt that a well-known, vendor-neutral open-source foundation would be a good home for the project. The Eclipse Foundation – which is moving its headquarters from Ottawa to Europe – has been a home to many open-source projects written in different languages for a long time, although with a history of being based on the JDK. In addition, the Eclipse Foundation has good legal and trademark policies and processes in place, which will help to safeguard the openness of OpenJDK at Eclipse in the future.

The main project name is being renamed to Eclipse Adoptium in line with the Eclipse Foundation's legal guidelines. Other projects that have moved to the Eclipse Foundation in the past have also undergone name changes; for example, when Goldman Sachs donated their GS Collections to Eclipse, it became Eclipse Collections. If the other projects are also moving under the Eclipse umbrella then they too may be renamed. InfoQ spoke to Mike Milinkovic, who confirmed that the project is being renamed as OpenJDK and is an Oracle trademark, and that respecting Oracle's intellectual property was a factor in many aspects of the change.

The migration of AdoptOpenJDK to Eclipse also heralds a first in licensing of Eclipse projects. Although many are licensed under the EPL-1.0 or EPL-2.0 licenses, some projects like JGit and EGit are licensed under the EDL which is a 3-clause BSD license – but OpenJDK is GPL licensed with the classpath exception. This is the first such project to be hosted at Eclipse, and it follows updates to the IP policy and repeal of special-casing that prevented this, as a way of broadening the Eclipse Foundation's community. 

A related project, which started at Eclipse recently, is JustJ, which aims to provide Java runtimes suitable for use by Eclipse applications. At present, downloading Eclipse IDEs requires a Java runtime to be installed, because redistribution of the Oracle binaries wasn't permitted. Other IDEs, such as IBM's WebSphere Studio products or IntelliJ, have a binary which is either built and hosted themselves (in the case of IBM) or a paid license for the Oracle JDK (in the case of IntelliJ). The additional step of requiring a Java runtime adds friction to the out-of-the-box experience for the IDE. The JustJ project was started to make that happen – but it may be that this combines forces with the Adoptium in the future.

The plan is for the Adopt technical steering committee to become the Eclipse Adoptium PMC (Project Management Committee); but there will be an additional working group that focuses on the licensing, legal and marketing, etc. This will provide a vendor neutral space for the future direction of the project.

What do you think of the move of AdoptOpenJDK to the Eclipse Foundation? Add your thoughts in the comments below.

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