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Java is a general purpose object-oriented programming language. It is intended to let developers "write once, run anywhere" meaning that compiled Java code can run on all platforms that support Java without the need for recomplication. Java applications are typically compiled to bytecode that runs on any Java Virtual Machine (JVM) regardless of host architecture. As of 2015, Java is one of the most popular programming languages in use with a reported 9 million developers. Java derives most of its syntax from C and C++, but lacks a lot of low level features.

The original Java compilers, virtual machines and libraries were released by Sun Microsystems (now bought by Oracle) under a proprietary license. After May 2007, in compliance with the Java Community Process, Sun re licensed most of its Java technologies under the GNU GPL. Other developers have created alternative implementations of these technologies, such as GCJ (GNU Compiler for Java), the IcedTea Web Plugin and OpenJDK.