Google is preparing to make some very important changes to Android N, the upcoming mobile operating system. They are dropping the proprietary Java APIs and moving to the open source version.
Google is currently in a dispute with Oracle, the developers of Java. Oracle says that Android is not allowed to use the proprietary Java bits. As expected, Google doesn’t agree. In any case, it looks like Google is trying to avoid future problems by integrating OpenJDK, which is the open source version of Java. It’s also Oracle built, so they are going too far away.
The switch to OpenJDK might have nothing to do with Google’s dispute, but it feels like it’s too much of a coincidence. Almost as interesting is the fact that Google has been making moves without saying anything official, but these secrets can’t remain hidden for long.
Android N will only use OpenJDK
According to a report on venturebeat.com, someone revealed on Hackernews a commit to Android, which might have remained hidden for a long time. Android is an open source project and anyone can see what’s happening, but it’s a big project and no one keeps track of all the commits.
This is what the commit reads: “Initial import of OpenJdk files. Create new libcore/ojluni directory with src/main/java and src/main/native subdirectiories. Build ojluni into core-oj jar. Use openjdk classes from java.awt.font package. Copy all files from jdk/src/share/classes and jdk/src/solaris/classes directories in openjdk into libcore/ojluni/src/main/java.”
It might have seemed like a stretch, but Venturebeat managed to confirm with Google that it’s really happening. So what does it mean for regular users? To be honest, nothing. If the story hadn’t broken out, users wouldn’t have known and everything would have been the same. It’s a backend change and things stay the same.
The good news is that Google might contribute back to OpenJDK, which will make this a much better solution than Java, Most Linux distros have ditched Java for some time, so it’s not a difficult thing to do.