Moving Java Forward Even Faster
2021/09/14 07:18:42 -07:00

Four years ago we shifted Java to a strict, time-based release model with a feature release every six months, update releases every quarter, and a long-term support (LTS) release every three years.

That change was designed to provide regular, predictable releases to both developers and enterprises. Developers prefer rapid innovation, and would like to upgrade frequently so that they can use the latest features. Enterprises, by contrast, prefer stability and would rather upgrade every few years so that they can migrate when they are ready.

Over the past four years, Oracle and the OpenJDK Community have shown that we can execute on that model. We’ve delivered eight high-quality, production-ready releases containing a broad range of new features, smaller enhancements, and bug fixes. We’ve also delivered stable quarterly update releases for both LTS and non-LTS releases.

During this time the wider ecosystem has, in turn, begun to adapt to the new model. Many popular IDEs, tools, frameworks, and libraries support the very latest six-month feature release — even when it’s not an LTS release — shortly after it becomes available.

Developers are excited about the new features — which is great! Many are frustrated, however, that they cannot use them right away since their employers are only willing to deploy applications on LTS releases, which only ship once every three years.

So, let’s ship an LTS release every two years.

This change will give both enterprises, and their developers, more opportunities to move forward.

It will also increase the attractiveness of the non-LTS feature releases. Developers working on a new application in a slow-moving enterprise can start with the latest non-LTS release, upgrade every six months to those that follow, and know that there will be an LTS release within two years which their employer can put into production.

(Oracle, for its part, will continue to offer the usual minimum of eight years of paid support for each LTS release. Other vendors could, of course, offer different support timelines.)

This proposal will, if accepted and if successful, accelerate the entire Java ecosystem.

Comments and questions are welcome, either on the OpenJDK general discussion list (please subscribe to that list in order to post to it) or on Twitter, with the hashtag #javatrain.