Oracle Java SE 9

Big changes are coming! And I don’t mean the new features of the new JDK 9 which was released on the 21st. of September by Oracle. I would like to turn attention to the new release and support cycle.


The smallest change I guess is the new version scheme starting with the next release in March next year. This new naming scheme will be YY.M means 18.3 (March 2018) for the next JDK 9 release. So far so good. In addition the release cycle will be shorten to once every half a year. New Long Term Support releases will be released every three years. The first JDK 9 with LTS will be 18.9 which will be released by September next year. This is what officially been announced from Oracle.
What most likely will become reality is what Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle’s Java Platform Group, posted in his blog:

Proposal: Taking inspiration from the release models used by other platforms and by various operating-system distributions, I propose that after Java 9 we adopt a strict, time-based model with a new feature release every six months, update releases every quarter, and a long-term support release every three years.

  • Feature releases can contain any type of feature, including not just new and improved APIs but also language and JVM features. New features will be merged only when they’re nearly finished, so that the release currently in development is feature-complete at all times. Feature releases will ship in March and September of each year, starting in March of 2018.
  • Update releases will be strictly limited to fixes of security issues, regressions, and bugs in newer features. Each feature release will receive two updates before the next feature release. Update releases will ship quarterly in January, April, July, and October, as they do today.
  • Every three years, starting in September of 2018, the feature release will be a long-term support release. Updates for these releases will be available for at least three years and quite possibly longer, depending upon your vendor.”

Further to the future of JDK:

Proposal: Related to this proposal, we at Oracle intend to make a few changes in what we do:

  • Starting with JDK 9 we’ll ship OpenJDK builds under the GPL [6], to make it easier for developers to deploy Java applications to cloud environments. We’ll initially publish OpenJDK builds for Linux/x64, followed later by builds for macOS/x64 and Windows/x64.
  • We’ll continue to ship proprietary “Oracle JDK” builds, which include “commercial features” [7] such as Java Flight Recorder and Mission Control [8], under a click-through binary-code license [9]. Oracle will continue to offer paid support for these builds.
  • After JDK 9 we’ll open-source the commercial features in order to make the OpenJDK builds more attractive to developers and to reduce the differences between those builds and the Oracle JDK. This will take some time, but the ultimate goal is to make OpenJDK and Oracle JDK builds completely interchangeable.
  • Finally, for the long term we’ll work with other OpenJDK contributors to establish an open build-and-test infrastructure. This will make it easier to publish early-access builds for features in development, and eventually make it possible for the OpenJDK Community itself to publish authoritative builds of the JDK.


This is the official support plan from Oracle:

Release GA Date Premier Support
Extended Support
6 Dec 2006 Dec 2015 Dec 2018 Indefinite
7 Jul 2011 Jul 2019 Jul 2022 Indefinite
8 Mar 2014 Mar 2022 Mar 2025 Indefinite
9 (non-LTS) Sep 2017 Mar 2018 Not Available Not Available
18.3^ (non-LTS)*** Mar 2018*** Sep 2018*** Not Available Not Available
18.9^ (LTS)*** Sep 2018*** Sep 2023*** Sep 2026*** Indefinite***

* 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. See “Support of Deployment Technology” section below for details.
*** LTS designation and dates are subject to change.
^ Oracle has proposed a new version scheme of (YY.M) starting in March, 2018.

What might be the implication for Intershop (their partners and customers)?

First of all we will see more frequent updates of the JDK also in our newest releases. But there is a but. Intershop will most likely start with the first LTS version, 18.9. Anything else is to risky in my mind. Having no additional support after March 2018 for the new JDK, just released is in my eyes to dangerous. If there is something happen, maybe on Oracle side or we can’t adapt fast enough to the new features in 18.3 we will end up with an JDK without official support from Oracle.

Additional reads:

Oracle Java SE 9
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