JavaFX and OpenJDK


I'm trying to decide whether I could switch to JavaFX for the user interface of my Java application. Most of my users would be using the Oracle JRE, which has JavaFX integrated these days. However, some are using OpenJDK (on linux). This (old) question suggests that OpenJDK deals very badly with JavaFX. According to this question, the alternative OpenJFX will only be fully integrated into OpenJDK in version 9. So my question is twofold:

  • Is the JavaFX support in OpenJDK still so bad?
  • If so, are there any Linux distributions that already offer an OpenJFX package so users wouldn't have to build it themselves?
5/23/2017 11:47:01 AM

Accepted Answer

JavaFX is part of OpenJDK

The JavaFX project itself is open source and is part of the OpenJDK project.

Building JavaFX from the OpenJDK repository

You can build an open version of OpenJDK (including JavaFX) completely from source which has no dependencies on the Oracle JDK or closed source code.

Update: Using a JavaFX distribution pre-built from OpenJDK sources

As noted in comments to this question and in another answer, the Debian Linux distributions offer a JavaFX binary distibution based upon OpenJDK:

Differences between Open JDK and Oracle JDK with respect to JavaFX

The following information was provided for Java 8. As of Java 9, VP6 encoding is deprecated for JavaFX and the Oracle WebStart/Browser embedded application deployment technology is also deprecated. So future versions of JavaFX, even if they are distributed by Oracle, will likely not include any technology which is not open source.

Oracle JDK includes some software which is not usable from the OpenJDK. There are two main components which relate to JavaFX.

  1. The ON2 VP6 video codec, which is owned by Google and Google has not open sourced.
  2. The Oracle WebStart/Browser Embedded application deployment technology.

This means that an open version of JavaFX cannot play VP6 FLV files. This is not a big loss as it is difficult to find VP6 encoders or media encoded in VP6.

Other more common video formats, such as H.264 will playback fine with an open version of JavaFX (as long as you have the appropriate codecs pre-installed on the target machine).

The lack of WebStart/Browser Embedded deployment technology is really something to do with OpenJDK itself rather than JavaFX specifically. This technology can be used to deploy non-JavaFX applications.

It would be great if the OpenSource community developed a deployment technology for Java (and other software) which completely replaced WebStart and Browser Embedded deployment methods, allowing a nice light-weight, low impact user experience for application distribution. I believe there have been some projects started to serve such a goal, but they have not yet reached a high maturity and adoption level.

Personally, I feel that WebStart/Browser Embedded deployments are legacy technology and there are currently better ways to deploy many JavaFX applications (such as self-contained applications).

Who needs to create Linux OpenJDK Distributions which include JavaFX

It is up to the people which create packages for Linux distributions based upon OpenJDK (e.g. Redhat, Ubuntu etc) to create RPMs for the JDK and JRE that include JavaFX. Those software distributors, then need to place the generated packages in their standard distribution code repositories (e.g. fedora/red hat network yum repositories). Currently this is not being done, but I would be quite surprised if Java 8 Linux packages did not include JavaFX when Java 8 is released in March 2014.

Advice on Deployment for Substantial Applications

I advise using Java's self-contained application deployment mode.

A description of this deployment mode is:

Application is installed on the local drive and runs as a standalone program using a private copy of Java and JavaFX runtimes. The application can be launched in the same way as other native applications for that operating system, for example using a desktop shortcut or menu entry.

You can build a self-contained application either from the Oracle JDK distribution or from an OpenJDK build which includes JavaFX. It currently easier to do so with an Oracle JDK.

As a version of Java is bundled with your application, you don't have to care about what version of Java may have been pre-installed on the machine, what capabilities it has and whether or not it is compatible with your program. Instead, you can test your application against an exact Java runtime version, and distribute that with your application. The user experience for deploying your application will be the same as installing a native application on their machine (e.g. a windows .exe or .msi installed, an OS X .dmg, a linux .rpm or .deb).

Update, April 2018: Information on Oracle's current policy towards future developments

7/26/2018 5:34:45 PM

For me this worked.

sudo apt-get install openjfx

Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with: Stack Overflow