OpenJDK Life Cycle and Support Policy

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This article is an explanation of the OpenJDK Life Cycle and Support Policy as shipped in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). It does not cover other implementations of Java runtimes or JDKs as provided by Sun, Oracle or IBM.

Information in this article is subject to change as necessary.

OpenJDK (Open Java Development Kit) is a free and open source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE). The upstream community project OpenJDK is currently sponsored and led by Oracle and is released under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL 2 and 2+) with a linking exception.

Index

Overview
OpenJDK Life Cycle and Support Policy
OpenJDK Lifecycle Dates and RHEL versions
Frequently Asked Questions and References

Information in this article is subject to change as necessary.

Overview

OpenJDK (Open Java Development Kit) is an open source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition (Java SE). The upstream community project OpenJDK is currently sponsored and led by Oracle and is released under the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL 2 and 2+) with a linking exception.

OpenJDK is the default Java development and runtime in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Packages for OpenJDK are made available in Red Hat Enterprise Linux in the same manner as the rest of the content set.

Oracle leads development of the Java Platform SE and contributes heavily to the OpenJDK project. See Overview and Development model of Java Platform SE for more details.

Red Hat re-distributes third-party JDKs from IBM and Oracle and customers are advised to refer directly to the vendor for information on scope of support and life cycle for those JDKs. The following section outlines the scope of support for OpenJDK in Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) only.

OpenJDK Life Cycle and Support Policy

Although OpenJDK is distributed with RHEL, it has its own life cycle.

A major version of OpenJDK is supported for a period of six years from the time that it is first introduced in any version of RHEL, or until the retirement date of the underlying RHEL platform , whichever is earlier. There are currently three active major versions available in RHEL, but customers are advised to migrate to the newest version of OpenJDK as soon as practical to continue to receive updates and support.

OpenJDK Lifecycle Dates and RHEL versions

RHEL 5 Support Added RHEL 6 Support Added RHEL 7 Support Added End of Support
OpenJDK 6 (1.6) 5.3 6.0 7.0 December 2016
OpenJDK 7 (1.7) 5.9 6.3 7.0 June 2018
OpenJDK 8 (1.8) N/A 6.6 7.1 October 2020

Frequently Asked Questions and References

What are Technology Previews

Technology Previews provide early access to new technologies. Refer to Scope of Coverage for Technology Previews for details on how these are supported.

Targeted Dates

Targeted releases, dates and life cycle time spans are subject to adjustment.

Can Red Hat patch OpenJDK?

Yes. Red Hat has the ability to provide updates to OpenJDK software that is shipped in Red Hat Enterprise Linux subject to the lifecycle guidance provided in this article.

Can we install multiple versions of OpenJDK on the same server?

Yes, it is possible to have multiple versions of OpenJDK on the same Red Hat Enterprise Linux server as long as they are available on the media (DVD) or Red Hat Network channels. These packages are separate packages with the version number clearly identified in the name of the RPM. It is also possible for a third-party Java JDK/JRE to be installed concurrently with OpenJDK. RHEL provides third-party Java distributions from Oracle and IBM in the Supplementary channels. Note that these distributions are provided as a convenience and are not technically part of the RHEL platform. We recommend you use the alternatives tool[1] to configure OpenJDK or a third-party Java.

How can I install multiple minor releases on the same server?

RHEL has a proven track record of maintaining binary compatibility of key components for the life of the (major) release. OpenJDK is no exception to this rule. Users are free to stay at a particular release (e.g. "1.41.1.10.4.el6"). However, we strongly recommend that you update to the most recent release that is available. This ensures that you receive fixes to the most recent critical bugs and security fixes.

While Red Hat will make a commericially reasonable effort to support the earlier release, it may become necessary to update to the most recent release to help reproduce and identify a problem. Red Hat will treat any binary compatibility between releases as a bug and will attempt to provide a fix as per the SLA. The exceptions to this include and are not limited to our need to patch security vulnerabilities in the package with no option to avoid binary compatibility breakage. These cases are very rare and are clearly documented in the errata.

Are the binary plugs that Oracle did not release the source supported?

We do not ship any of the OpenJDK binary plugs.

Does Red Hat perform the TCK compliance testing?

Yes, we run the TCK test suite, which is a set of tests that we received from Oracle. Anytime there is a code change, we run the TCK to ensure that OpenJDK is in compliance with the Java specification.

What kind of support does Red Hat provide after "End of Production Support Schedule"?

Red Hat will provide limited ongoing technical support. No bug fixes, security fixes or root-cause analysis will be available and support will be provided on existing installations only. This is consistent with the RHEL Extended Life Phase.

[1] Using alternatives to manage different JDKs: What is the alternatives system and how do I configure it?

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