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InfoQ Homepage News Java 7 Reaches End of Life

Java 7 Reaches End of Life


Oracle ceased public availability of security fixes and upgrades for Java 7 as of April 2015, urging users to migrate to Java 8 or to purchase commercial long-term support for Java 7. Further public updates may be available by other vendors.

The planned EOL was originally announced in March 2014. While this is not expected to affect ordinary users (Oracle created an automatic self-update to Java 8 in January 2015), Java developers and users of advanced applications may experience some issues. Many tools and libraries still rely on features that were marked as deprecated in Java 7 and entirely removed in Java 8, making them incompatible with the newer version; these tools will have to be modified before users can upgrade their version of Java.

The fact that Oracle won’t publish any more updates doesn’t mean that Java 7 will stop working altogether, but it does mean that patches will not be provided for any new vulnerability that might come up, thus leaving users at risk. This implies that users of tools that are currently incompatible with Java 8 will have to choose between keeping Java 7 and accepting the potential exposure, purchasing commercial long-term support or migrating to a different tool. This last point is putting pressure on tool creators, particularly those responsible for open-source projects, since they need to combine their day-to-day duties with the work needed to migrate to the latest Java. This is the case for instance with Ryan Heaton, Principal Engineer at FamilySearch and creator of Enunciate, a widely used documentation engine for Java that doesn’t currently work with Java 8.

I think the EOL for Java 7 came up really fast. I wish they had waited a bit longer, but I also understand that it’s expensive to maintain older products and APIs. If I’m really honest with myself, I probably would have felt that the EOL came up fast no matter when Oracle decided to schedule it. Admittedly, it gives me extra motivation to get my projects updated.

On the other hand, it seems unusual that there isn’t more than one option for migration. Shouldn’t Java 9 be available before Java 7 is EOL?

Alternatives to Oracle JVM

While Oracle's is the most popular, it is not the only JVM available. Different vendors and user groups have created dozens of JVM implementations, both open source and proprietary, and offering different levels of support. Some of them, like Azul Systems, offer two different JVMs with commercial support that includes updates not only for Java 7, but even for Java 6.


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