Must go faster, must go faster! Oracle lobs Java EE into GitHub, vows rapid Java SE releases

Plenty of life left in this dinosaur

Oracle's Java is 20 years old

Oracle plans to accelerate the pace of Java SE releases – and has moved Java EE's code repository to GitHub in keeping with its avowed desire to step back from managing the beast.

Java SE has been on a two-year release cycle. That's no longer fast enough, according to Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle’s Java platform group.

Java competes with other platforms that get updated more often, he explained.

"For Java to remain competitive it must not just continue to move forward — it must move forward faster," he said in a note posted to his blog on Wednesday.

Java remains one of the most popular programming languages and is still widely used among companies. However, other languages show more dynamism and that has led institutions like Stanford to consider JavaScript rather than Java as a language for first-time programmers.

Once the long delayed Java SE 9 arrives on September 21, Java SE feature releases will be appear every six months, in March and September, starting in 2018.

Update releases, consisting of fixes for security issues, regressions, and bugs in recent features, will ship quarterly, as they do today, in January, April, July, and October.

And every three years, starting in September, 2018, the feature release will be designated as a long-term support release, meaning that the release will be supported for at least three years.

In a separate note to the OpenJDK mailing list, Reinhold said that starting with JDK 9, OpenJDK builds will be governed by GPLv2, in order to make the code more suitable for cloud environments.

Oracle plans to release OpenJDK builds for Linux/x64 initially, followed by builds for macOS/x64 and Windows/x64. It will continue to offer Oracle JDK builds with commercial features such as Java Flight Recorder and Mission Control under a click-through binary-code license.

Eventually, Oracle plans to open-source these commercial features, with an eye toward making OpenJDK and Oracle JDK interchangeable.

Oracle last month said it intended to transfer Java EE to the oversight of an open source foundation "in order to adopt more agile processes, implement more flexible licensing, and change the governance process."

While Oracle has yet to specify which organization might oversee the project going forward, its publication of Java EE on GitHub shows that process moving forward.

Java EE 8 is also due later this year. ®

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