In a move that could mean serious competition for Oracle in the Java space, Microsoft is previewing its own build of OpenJDK, a freely available, long-term support distribution of open source Java.

Known officially as Microsoft Build of OpenJDK, binaries of Java 11 for Windows, Linux, and MacOS are available at microsoft.com. Microsoft also is publishing an early access binary for Java 16, the latest version of standard Java, for Windows on Arm. Microsoft Azure cloud users can try the build via Azure Cloud Shell.

Builds for Java 11 are based on OpenJDK source code, following the same build scripts used by the Eclipse Adoptium project, formerly known as AdoptOpenJDK. Microsoft’s binaries have passed the Java Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for Java 11.

Announced April 6, Microsoft Build of OpenJDK is a simple drop-in replacement for any other OpenJDK distribution in the Java ecosystem. Microsoft pledges to support Java 11 until at least 2024. OpenJDK binaries for Java 17 are due by the end of this year. Microsoft will support Java 8 binaries from Eclipse Adoptium on Azure-managed services offering Java 8 as a target runtime option.

Microsoft, with its Java build, surely has Oracle, with its popular Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) Java releases, in its crosshairs. Microsoft said Java is one of the most important programming languages today, as it’s used for everything from critical enterprise applications to hobby robots. Microsoft has seen increasing growth in customer use of Java across the company’s cloud services and development tools.

Microsoft said its contributions to OpenJDK started as it learned about the process and how to participate in a meaningful way. During the past 18 months, the company has contributed more than 50 patches for OpenJDK, covering areas such as MacOS packaging, build and infrastructure, and garbage collection fixes. Microsoft also has collaborated with Java vendor Azul Systems and others to offer Java support.

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