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FreeBSD Serves Up Java JDK

The FreeBSD Foundation Monday reiterated its backing of the Java operating environment and released a binary distribution of the Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.3.1.

The group (sometimes referred to as "beasties") says Java users can download the FreeBSD Foundation's Java distribution for free. The Foundation is also providing OEM licenses to FreeBSD distributors, permitting them to ship out-of-the-box Java support with FreeBSD.

"This announcement hallmarks a new era of Java support for FreeBSD," FreeBSD Core Team member Wes Peters said in a statement. "Having easy to install binary Java packages will ensure that all users can enjoy the benefits of Java technology on the FreeBSD platform."

A popular and free version of the UNIX operating system, FreeBSD runs on x86-compatible, DEC Alpha and PC-98 architectures. The operating system is distributed in executable and source code form and is widely used in the network server environment, powering over two million Web servers and four million Web sites worldwide.

Even though some critics on discussion groups complained that the JDK is an "antiquated version", most were excited.

"The one thing that have kept me from testing FreeBSD was actually the lack of Java support - now it has truly become an alternative to Linux as far as I'm concerned," one poster said.

With the 1.3.1 JDK release behind them, the Foundation says it has turned its attention toward the 1.4.X JDK. The volunteers working on FreeBSD Java support already have us most of the way there.

The Foundation says it is now "financing efforts to accelerate the completion of this work."

"Java support is critical to the success of FreeBSD in the enterprise-- this release will open many doors for the FreeBSD platform," FreeBSD Foundation president Robert Watson said.

The 1.4.X may be a bit more of a challenge, however, as Sun Microsystems' implementation of Java 1.4 is closed source.

In related news, the FreeBSD group initiated a "code freeze" on FreeBSD 4.9. The fill-in version between the popular v4.8 and the latest v5.1 has its first release candidate for x86 and Alpha architectures penciled in for September 12.