Android N doing away with Oracle’s Java APIs, OpenJDK to be the new standard

by: Edgar CervantesDecember 29, 2015

Android robot

Google has announced a move away from Oracle’s proprietary Java APIs. Beginning with the next version of their mobile operating system (Android N), the new standard will be OpenJDK, an open source alternative.

Suspicions of this move have been emerging for a while, as bits of code have shown up here and there. Today Google confirms all the speculations with the following statement, which was sent to the guys over at Venture Beat.

maxresdefaultSee also: Android Nankathai? What if Android fans got to name Android N?36

“As an open-source platform, Android is built upon the collaboration of the open-source community. In our upcoming release of Android, we plan to move Android’s Java language libraries to an OpenJDK-based approach, creating a common code base for developers to build apps and services. Google has long worked with and contributed to the OpenJDK community, and we look forward to making even more contributions to the OpenJDK project in the future.” – Google spokesperson

What is the difference? From a user standpoint, there will likely be little to no noticeable changes. It is developers who will likely have to adapt to the new standard in a more significant manner. So why the switch?

oracle logo mwc 2015

There is really no major reason we can think of… other than the legal issues Google has been having with Oracle. Google lost the case last year, causing quite the havoc and putting Google in a tight spot (which is very hard to get out of). Neither parties have commented on this, though, and we doubt they will.

Regardless, it is likely a good strategic move for the future of the company. We will have to wait until more details on Android N show up. Until then, let’s just stay put and keep it tuned to the Android Authority homepage.

  • lrd555

    Could a settlement between Oracle & Google be near? Because the statement, if not altered, sounds like an admision of the improper use of proprietary property. Which of course was Oracle’s argument from the get go.

    • ZACK

      Google has been trying negotiate with Sun and later Oracle over licensing deals with Java since Android’s inception. Both times no agreement was never met. Oracle could have requested the APIs to be removed or some kinda exception (like Microsoft, ironically). Instead we get a lawsuit that’s lasted half a decade.

  • Bob

    Fucking copycats

    • Somebody

      If you’re referring to Google there as “copycats”, that really isn’t fair, given the way Java was marketed, and the legal framework that existed at the time when the Java language was selected.

      It also isn’t fair on an advancement of technology basis, since without building on work that already exists, everybody would have to reinvent everything for every single project, no matter how trivial. Feel like turning our technology back by 10,000 years?

  • ZACK

    I hope this move makes Oracle’s Java obsolete and we can be done with this lawsuit nonsense.

    • 500 is too expensive

      agree with you.
      I hope this will be the end of Oracle’s Java

      • Johan Nilsson

        It most certainly can be, Android has a huge share of the Java market. Great move by Google, I’m prepared to rewrite my apps just to not get any license costs to Oracle.

        • Somebody

          The VAST majority of developers won’t have to do anything at all, not even a rebuild. I’ve been using OpenJDK for all aspects of Android development for years, including platform building.

          Think of it like this; OracleJDK API is a SUPERSET of OpenJDK’s. There’s a few extra pieces that almost nobody uses.

  • bao brain

    Good on google. The move was a long time coming.

    Also, there shouldn’t be much difference to the developers either? OpenJDK is designed to be an open source implementation of Oracle’s Java, and unless Google changes function names and their respective parameters the difference should be minimal.

    • Somebody

      If Google *could* change the function names, then there never would have been this issue to begin with, since by definition, it would be a new API and no longer covered by Oracle’s IP.

  • Preben Nielsen

    Oracle, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot … with a cannon.

  • We know how much open source google’s plans are …

  • Philip Cohn-Cort

    If this means Android N will support Java 8 features like lambdas, the stream APIs, and the joda-like time libraries natively, I’ll be super happy. Plus, OpenJDK is a pretty sweet project – official Google support (financially or otherwise) is not to be sneezed at.

    • Somebody

      OpenJDK doesn’t mean OpenJDK 8. Though one would hope that they jump straight to the latest…

      • Philip Cohn-Cort

        Maybe, but I rather doubt they wouldn’t take advantage of the platform switch.

  • Shane Phillips

    Good. Google can tell oracle to go eat a dick, and Android will get even better.

  • fredphoesh

    Great! Oracle are not a very nice company, I’d love to see their control freakery become irrelevant.

  • Tin Man

    The title doesn’t make sense — OpenJDK implements Oracle’s APIs just like Google’s implementation!
    The difference is, OpenJDK comes from Oracle and was released under a copyleft license instead of a permissive one.