Java 8 release delayed until next year

Oracle leadership says Java 8 needs more time, mainly to fix security flaws

Oracle is looking to delay until next year the planned release of Java 8, citing a renewed focus on security, Oracle's Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Java Development Kit 8, based on Java Platform, Standard Edition 8, was due in September, but Reinhold says it will be pushed back to allow more work on the security issues that have dogged Java recently. "Looking ahead, Oracle is committed to continue fixing security issues at an accelerated pace, to enhance the Java security model, and to introduce new security features. This work will require more engineer hours than we can free up by dropping features from Java 8 or otherwise reducing the scope of the release at this stage," Reinhold said. "As a consequence of this renewed focus on security, the Java 8 schedule, with a GA release in early September, is no longer achievable." The new anticipated date for general availability of Java 8 is the first quarter of next year, while a developer preview release is eyed for September, he said.

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Oracle also has seen work slip on Project Lambda, the main attraction of Java SE 8, but looks to finish it by early May, three months later than planned. Lambda boosts multicore programming capabilities by adding closures and related features. The company could drop Lamdba and still meet the general availability target date for Java SE 8, but that would make the release less compelling, said Reinhold. "A Lambda-less release this year would hence be unlikely to gain wide adoption, so why bother?"

Java SE 9, meanwhile, is now anticipated for release in early 2016. It previously was slated for a 2015 release. Version 9 will include the Project Jigsaw module system, which initially was slated for inclusion in Java SE 8.

Oracle's delay for Java 8 received some initial support from readers of Reinhold's blog, in the comments section. "I'm in," said commenter netmikey. "Shipping without Lambda would be a major letdown, and nobody wants half-baked, buggy features. Do it right and just take the time you need."

IDC analyst Al Hilwa agreed with Reinhold's reasoning. "Clearly there has been an intentional resource shift to secure Java which is absolutely the right priority," he said. "The existing Java release schedule is a feature-driven schedule, and the key feature of JDK 8 is Lambda. I think Mark’s explanation and suggested plan is well-reasoned and seems to me the best option. Clearly it is concerning that the date has slipped more than once, but under the circumstances, it is completely understandable."

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