The open source implementation of Java has gotten a boost from Google (GOOG), which has announced plans to include OpenJDK in the next version of its Android mobile operating system.
OpenJDK is an open source version of the platform used for building and running applications in the Java programming language. It's the major open source alternative to proprietary Java implementations, most notably one owned by Oracle (ORCL).
Current versions of Android use some Java code developed by Google itself, rather than open source versions. The next version of Android, however, will use "an OpenJDK-based approach," VentureBeat reported a few days ago.
That language leaves a little ambiguity regarding exactly what Google plans to do. An OpenJDK-based approach is not necessarily the same thing as integrating a vanilla version of OpenJDK into Android.
Still, whatever Google does, it seems clear that the company will be making Java much more open source-friendly in future versions of its mobile operating system.
The news is perhaps a final step in making OpenJDK a preferred Java platform. When OpenJDK development began in 2006, the open source code often lacked some of the features of closed-source Java implementations. That left some developers and users queasy about using OpenJDK.
A decade later, that legacy has not entirely disappeared, even though OpenJDK is now just as good in most situations as proprietary Java environments. Google's decision to endorse OpenJDK should help users and programmers to move definitively beyond the myth that the best Java implementation is closed-source.