After Oracle introduces the new release cycle for Java I was not convinced of this new strategy. Even today I still have a different opinion. One of the point I criticize is the disregard of semantic versioning. Also the argument with this new cycle is more easy to deliver more faster new features, I’m not agree. In my opinion could occur some problems in the future. But wait, let’s start from the beginning, before I share my complete thoughts at once.
The six month release cycle Oracle announced in 2017 for Java ensure some insecurity to the community. The biggest fear was formulated by the popular question: Will be Java in future not anymore for free? Of course the answer is a clear no, but there are some impacts for companies they should be aware of it. If we think on huge Applications in production, are some points addressed to the risk management and the business continuing strategy. If the LTS support for security updates after the 3rd year of a published release have to be paid, force well defined strategies for updates into production. I see myself spending in future more time to migrate my projects to new java versions than implement new functionalities. One solution to avoid a permanent update orgy is move away from the Oracle JVM to OpenJDK.
In professional environment is quite popular that companies define a fixed setup to keep security. When I always are forced to update my components without a proof the new features are secure, it could create problems. Commercial projects running under other circumstances and need often special attention. Because you need a well defined environment where you know everything runs stable. Follow the law never touch a running system.
Absolutely I can understand the intention of Oracle to take this step. I guess it’s a way to get rid of old buggy and insecure installations. To secure the internet a bit more. Of course you can not support decades old deprecated versions. This have a heavy financial impact. but I wish they had chosen an less rough strategy. It’s sadly that the business often operate in this way. I wished it exist a more trustful communication.
By experience of preview releases of Java it always was taken a time until they get stable. In this context I remind myself to some heavy issues I was having with the change to 64 bit versions. The typical motto: latest is greatest, could be dangerous. Specially time based releases are good candidates for problems, even when the team is experienced. The pressure is extremely high to deliver in time.
Another fact which could discuss is the semantic versioning. It is a very powerful process, I always recommend. I ask myself If there really every six months new language features to have the reason increasing the Major number? Even for patches and enhancements? But what happens when in future is no new language enhancement? By the way adding by force often new features could decrease quality. In my opinion Java includes many educative features and not every new feature request increase the language capabilities. A simple example is the well known GOTO statement in other languages. When you learn programming often your mentor told you – it exist something if you see it you should run away. Never use GOTO. In Java inner classes I often compare with GOTO, because I think this should avoid. Until now I didn’t find any case where inner classes not a hint for design problems. The same is the heavy usage of functional statements. I can’t find any benefit to define a for loop as lambda function instead of the classical way.
In my opinion it looks like Oracle try to get some pieces from the cake to increase their business. Well this is not something bad,. But in the view of project management I don’t believe it is a well chosen strategy.