IBM has joined the Eclipse Adoptium working group as an enterprise member and committed to building and publishing Java SE TCK-certified JDK binaries with OpenJ9 free of charge.
The move comes after Microsoft previewed its own OpenJDK flavour last week.
IBM was already a noise in the AdoptOpenJDK community. Its developers have contributed scripts and tests, as well as having a hand in the managing of the release process to send AdoptOpenJDK's binaries out over a variety of platforms.
Eclipse Foundation releases Jakarta EE 9 preview, adopts AdoptOpenJDKREAD MORE
Big Blue will also provide commercial support for those JDK binaries (with monthly and perpetual support licenses that require a chat with an IBM representative). "Nobody likes paying more than necessary," it said without a shred of irony.
Java is big business and can be found in a hefty chunk of cloud applications and elsewhere. Oracle slapped a price tag on Java SE support a few years ago, which has caused many to look for an alternative to Big Red.
Noting the arrival of the Adoptium working group, introduced by the Eclipse Foundation last month, IBM pointed to the "millions of lines" of J9 code it had contributed to the Eclipse Foundation since 2016. In what was perhaps a slight dig at Oracle, IBM said: "We believe that your access to Java innovations like OpenJ9 shared classes, dynamic AOT and remote JIT compiler servers as well as regular bug fixes and security updates, should be free, even if you're working with mature releases like Java 8."
IBM went on to say it intended to continue "to provide access to OpenJ9 based JDK binaries at no cost."
The Eclipse Foundation, despite its occasionally glacial progress elsewhere, was quick to note IBM's announcement.
Overall, IBM's move is a positive one for the community and those looking for commercial support for free Java runtimes. Back in March, the Eclipse Foundation's Mike Milinkovich told us: "We're trying to make Adoptium a safe choice for enterprises." IBM signing up to Adoptium as an enterprise member will have done no harm to those ambitions. ®