By moving to a timed release, Java updates can deliver to users those latest additions to the language that they are requesting, without being held up by larger projects. In turn, the larger projects can be completed at their own natural pace, rather than being rushed through to make the next release. If modularity can't be inserted into Java 8, its developers can plan for Java 9, which is just two years away.
The timed releases might even allow Java to keep pace with a growing number of other JVM (Java Virtual Machine) languages -- such as Scala and Groovy -- that were based in part on features that users wanted in Java.
An increasing number of software projects, especially open source ones, seem to be maintaining a regular release schedule. Harris pointed to how Eclipse is successfully updated on a yearly schedule.
While a once-a-year update schedule may be too accelerated for a fundamental programming language such as Java, a release every other year might be feasible, said Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst who covers applications development software. Enterprise Java users would appreciate the predictability of releases, because they can make longer-term preparations for upcoming releases, he added.