Java SE – No more public updates from Oracle
Last year, we published a series of articles that offered you insight into what you should take into account when managing the deployment and usage of your Java software programs.
We looked at free of charge vs. commercial use, when commercial features are to be licensed, what is part of the different available commercial Java licenses and what other Oracle licenses include the right to make use of Java.
All the articles were put together in a detailed white paper that you can access here.
Now, Oracle is speeding up the releases of Java SE, with a new release of Java Development Kit (JDK) every six months and a long-term support version that will be updated every three years. As such, the next version of Java will be released in March 2018.
For all Java SE products (Oracle Java SE Advanced, Oracle Java SE Advanced Desktop and Oracle Java SE Suite) Oracle published a Support Roadmap, in order to help end users understand the maintenance and support options available.
As of September 2017, Oracle moved to a "Long Term Support" (LTS) model for Oracle Java SE products. This means that LTS versions, offering Premier and Sustaining Support, will be targeted for release every three years. In addition, feature releases will become generally available every six months along with quarterly maintenance and security updates.
As a result of this new change, Oracle will not post further updates of Java SE 8 to its public download sites for commercial use after September 2018. End users who need access to critical bug fixes and security fixes as well as general maintenance for Java SE 8 or previous versions can get long term support through Oracle Java SE Advanced, Oracle Java SE Advanced Desktop or Oracle Java SE Suite. All other users are recommended to upgrade to the latest major releases of the Oracle JDK or OpenJDK.
** Java SE 9 will be a short-term release, end users should immediately transition to the next release (18.3) when available.
*** Oracle has proposed a new version scheme (YY.M) starting in March 2018. Java SE 18.3 will be a short-term release and users should transition to the next release when available.
End users that require longer support and maintenance periods for feature releases have to migrate to the Oracle Java SE product offerings (Oracle Java SE Advanced, Oracle Java SE Advanced Desktop and Oracle Java SE Suite). Otherwise, in case of critical bugs, security issues, troubleshooting or simply wanting to submit a Service Request to Oracle Support, Oracle will not be able to assist them.
According to Oracle:
For any future releases after Java SE 8, Oracle Java SE product releases not designated as LTS releases will only be maintained until the subsequent release. For example, the LTS release for Oracle JDK 18.9 (targeted for GA September 2018) will be supported for at least 5 years as described in the Oracle Lifetime Support Policy. Support will be provided via a series of serial, non-LTS feature and maintenance releases which will only be maintained until the subsequent non-LTS release. After 3 years, the next LTS version will be scheduled for release.
Examples of some key product dates for Oracle Java SE product offerings include:
* Oracle Java SE product EOL dates are provided here as examples to illustrate the Oracle Java SE Advanced, Oracle Java SE Advanced Desktop and Oracle Java SE Suite EOL Policy. Customers should refer to Oracle Lifetime Support Policy for the most up-to-date information.
** These support timelines apply to client and server deployments of Java, with the exception of the web deployment technology.
*** LTS designation and dates, as noted in the above example, are subject to change.
^ Oracle has proposed a new version scheme of (YY.M) starting in March, 2018.
Additional details can be found here.
Java 9 is therefore the last version released under no “long term support”. Since Oracle released this version in September 2017, not too many companies or end users had the chance to do the upgrade. However, if you go through the effort of upgrading to Java 9, you will immediately need to migrate to the upcoming 18.3 and then to 18.9.
Companies that prefer stability, so that they can run large and complex applications on a single Java release, are recommended to migrate to these long-term support release. However, you need to be aware and plan ahead the migration from one long-term support release to the next, every three years.