Feeds

Oracle won't pull plug on Java SE 6 until 2013

Aging platform gets one more reprieve

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Oracle is extending the official end-of-life date for its aging Java SE 6 software development platform a second time as it struggles to get the Java language development process onto a consistent, two-year release schedule.

Had it stuck to its original roadmap, Oracle would have stopped providing public support and software updates for version 6 of the Java Development Kit (JDK) in July 2012. In February, it extended that end-of-life date to November 2012. Now it's extending it again, to February 2013.

"JDK 6 was the default JDK for over 5 years, and so it seems fair that it have a longer publicly available support time-frame than past major releases," writes Oracle's Henrik Stahl in a blog post announcing the extension.

Nonetheless, the database giant insists that it is still on track to release Java 8 and 9, both of which are currently under development through the Java Community Process (JCP), and that future releases of the Java platform will come more rapidly than they have in the past.

"It's important to highlight that, as we establish a steady two year cadence for major releases, End of Public Update events for major versions will become more frequent," Stahl writes.

Going forward, Oracle says it will stop providing updates for major versions of Java once all of three criteria are met. First, the version to be end-of-lifed must be three years old. Second, the subsequent version must be at least one year old. And third, six months must have passed since the subsequent version was established as the default JRE for end-user desktops.

Java SE 6 has already met two of those criteria. It is growing long in the tooth, having entered general availablility nearly six years ago, in December 2006. Java SE 7 was released a year ago, in July 2011. But Oracle only named Java SE 7 its default JRE in May of this year, with the release of Java SE 7 Update 4. Since that was the only holdup, Java SE 6 should have reached end-of-life at Oracle's earlier November 2012 date.

The long road to Java 7

Yet Oracle may have reasons for extending Java SE 6's lifespan beyond respect for its venerable age. Enterprise customers have not exactly leapt to adopt Java 7. For one thing, it had a troubled launch, with the Apache Foundation voicing concerns that the Java 7 compiler optimized code over-aggressively, causing some code that worked on earlier versions of Java to crash.

Java 7 also introduced numerous updates to the Java APIs and the language itself. While those were welcome changes for some, such alterations can also make migration difficult for customers with large code bases running on older versions of the JVM.

As of May 2012, Oracle announced that 23 per cent of Java customers surveyed had adopted Java 7. That's not bad, considering it had only been released eight months prior. But it's not great, and the fact that 88 per cent of the customers surveyed still used Java SE 6 illustrates the problem Oracle faces as it strives to move the language forward.

On the one hand, numerous members of the JCP have been clamoring for updates to the Java language and APIs, which they claim are falling behind other languages in modern programming features. But on the other hand, switching to a new JDK and a new version of the Java language is no simple matter, especially for large customers.

In July, Mark Reinhold, the chief architect of Oracle's Java platform group, urged the JCP to adopt an explicit two-year release cycle, with Java 8 arriving in September 2013 and Java 9 following in 2015.

"Developers want rapid innovation while enterprises want stability, and a cadence of about two years seems to strike the right balance," Reinhold wrote in a blog post.

Given its decision to extend Java SE 6 support to 2013, however, Oracle may have realized that this balancing act could prove harder than it seems. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.