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Oracle Extends Free Support Lifetime of Java 8

| by Ben Evans Follow 28 Followers on Feb 05, 2018. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Oracle has updated their roadmap for Free support of Java 8.

InfoQ recently reported on a potential "cliff edge" for Java support that would have left most Java shops vulnerable to a support vacuum. This announcement goes some way towards relieving the concerns of application owners. Donald Smith, senior director of product management at Oracle posted this update:

The public availability of Java SE 8 updates from Oracle has been extended to at least January 2019.  Moreover, Oracle will continue to provide consumers with updates for personal (non-corporate) use of Java SE 8 through at least the end of 2020.

Martijn Verburg, leader of the London Java Community (LJC) reacted to the announcement:

The extension of free support for Java 8 is welcome news for enterprises that have extensive Java deployments. Although Java 9+ sets a new high standard for Java security and gives other infrastructure benefits (e.g. smaller footprint), it is fair to say that migration at scale is non trivial.

Enterprises now can plan for this via their traditional change release cycles while still ensuring their apps have the latest security and stability patches.

While this is sure to be a welcome development for teams across the Java world, it is still substantially less overlap of free support than has been seen historically. For example, Java 8 was made GA in March 2014 and the last free public updates to Java 7 were released in July 2015 - over a year of overlap and migration time.

It seems that enterprises will simply have to adapt to the faster pace of required platform upgrades in the new world of Java release cycles. They should also note that nothing in these changes gives any indication that Oracle intends for Java 9 and 10 to be anything other than short-term releases without a long-term support option.

Despite the slight reprieve that Oracle's announcement represents, enterprises will still have only four short months to transition from Java 8 to Java 11 (which will be the only version with free support for commercial deployments after January 2019).

CTOs and operational architects should also consider whether they want to deploy Java 9 or 10 to production at all, given the lack of support options for these releases.

 

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