Oracle and Apple have announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X, a move that will make Apple's Java technology available to open source developers.

OpenJDK (aka Open Java Development Kit) is a free and open source implementation of the Java programming language.

Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.

We are excited to welcome Apple as a significant contributor in the growing OpenJDK community, said Hasan Rizvi, Oracle's senior vice president for Development. The availability of Java on Mac OS X plays a key role in the cross-platform promise of the Java platform.

Combined with last month's announcement of IBM joining the OpenJDK, the project now has the backing of three of the biggest names in software.

We're delighted to be working with Oracle to insure that there continues to be a great version of Java on the Mac, said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering.

Apple also confirmed that Java SE 6 will continue to be available from Apple for Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming release of Mac OS X Lion. Java SE 7 and future versions of Java for Mac OS X will be available from Oracle.