Will OpenJDK Ever Come To Android?

Developer & Design

Share this Post

It's no secret that Android apps are built on a customized version of Java. That being said, some Java developers haven't made the jump to Android because they would have to rewrite their apps. Is there anything they can do?

JavaWorld reports that some recent rumors suggest OpenJDK, the Oracle-sanctioned open source version of Java, would be coming to Android. It would provide Java developers with an easy entry into Android development. The question now is whether or not it's possible.

Speaking to JavaWorld, Java founder James Gosling said that there's no major technical hurdles standing in the way.

"Technically, it's not a huge problem. Android is just Linux on ARM, and there's already a nice ARM/Linux version of OpenJDK," said Gosling. "There are issues that would make the current binaries inappropriate (mostly graphics integration), but it's not insurmountable."

That being said, Gosling thinks that the bad blood between Oracle and Google might impede any efforts to bring OpenJDK to Android. If you recall, Oracle and Google were locked in a lawsuit earlier this year over accusations that the latter copied the former's Java APIs when developing the Android OS. The jury sided with Google, and then Oracle was ordered to pay Google $1 million. After all of that, it doesn't seem like Oracle would want to play nice with Google.

Even if there was no bad blood between the two companies, analysts seem to think that OpenJDK on Android just isn't worth Oracle's time. John Rymer of Forrester Research told JavaWorld that he thinks "the Java on Android ship has sailed" and that developers wouldn't care for it anyway.

At the moment, it seems that the prevailing feeling towards OpenJDK on Android is one of pessimism. The major problem is the obvious conflict between Google and Oracle, but developer interest is also questionable. It's too early to say that OpenJDK on Android will never happen, but chances are not looking good.