Pivotal Software Embraces OpenJDK

Pivotal Software has officially thrown its weight behind OpenJDK, the open source version of the standard edition of Java, by adding support for OpenJDK to the Pivotal Spring Runtime on its Spring framework.

At the same time, Pivotal announced it is extending its commercial support for open source Apache Tomcat servers in addition to providing commercial support for all the major open source Spring projects, including Spring Framework, Spring Boot, Spring Cloud and Spring Cloud Dataflow.

Since 2011, Oracle, IBM and SAP have been making a case for employing OpenJDK. Ryan Morgan, vice president of engineering for the application platform at Pivotal, said that while other languages have become increasingly popular, the primary workhorse for building back-end applications in the enterprise remains Java. Now that Oracle has formally relinquished control over Java source code to The Eclipse Foundation, research and development into the legacy programming environment should accelerate. Oracle retains licensing rights to the name Java, but versions 8 and higher of Java Enterprise Edition are being converted to an open source platform known as Jakarta.

Morgan said much of the work going forward would be focused on modernizing monolithic Java applications to make it either to turn them into microservices or at least make it easier for microservices developed in other languages to make calls via application programming interfaces (APIs) to those back-end applications. As enterprise IT organizations make the shift, they increasingly will rely on DevOps processes to manage the transition. The effort should accelerate the extent to which many organizations will need to rely on modern best DevOps practices.

As both OpenJDK and Jakarta continue to move forward, Morgan said Pivotal is committed to continuing investment in the Spring framework, which has done much to make developing Java applications a much more agile endeavor. The most immediate benefit, of course, is the reduction of licensing fees associated with employing Java platforms. Many IT organizations that have mandated open source code-first and adopted alternative programming languages now may want to reconsider their options, especially when the number of developers who know how to write applications in more modern languages is comparatively small.

Of course, it will take many years for enterprise IT organizations to fully make this transition. In the meantime, many of them will continue developing applications in Java simply because they have large teams that have mastered a programming construct that has been in place for three decades or more. Many of those same organizations may be making greater use of rival programming constructs, but Java and its descendants will play a major role in the enterprise well into the next decade. The primary challenge Pivotal will face is maintaining dominance of the frameworks employed to build new applications based on Jakarta and OpenJDK, in addition to updated existing Java applications.

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