Java 8 will likely strip out Stripped Implementations

Oracle executive cites licensing issues and platform fragmentation as obstacles, will consider it for Java 9

An Oracle executive wants to prune the Stripped Implementations feature from Java Standard Edition 8, citing a need to prevent fragmentation and do the licensing properly. The decision comes on the heels of Oracle deciding to let some bugs stay in Java 8 upon its release so the project stays on schedule.

Stripped Implementations enable specific implementations of Java SE packaged with the Java library and application code that will run on it. Elements that don't depend on the code would be omitted partially or entirely.

However, Stripped Implementations brings risks of fragmentation in Java. Guarding against this fragmentation and preserving compatibility requires "nontrivial changes to the TCK (Technology Compatibility Kit) license," said Mark Reinhold, chief architect of the Java platform group at Oracle, in an OpenJDK mailing list post on Friday. The TCK is used to test for compliance with official Java specifications. Java SE 8 is the basis for Java Development Kit, which is due to become available on March 18.

"I've been working with Oracle's legal department on these revisions for some time now. We have an initial draft, but at this point, unfortunately, I don't think there is sufficient time for members of this Expert Group, members of the JCP (Java Community Process) Executive Committee, and other interested parties to review and comment on these changes," Reinhold said. "I therefore propose to drop the Stripped Implementations feature from Java SE 8."

Stripped Implementations has not been the high-profile feature of Java SE 8. Instead, Project Lambda, for improved multicore programming in Java, has dominated the conversation. "From what I can tell, stripping is the ability to carve down the JRE/JDK (Java Runtime Environment) to just what's needed on a device, rather than taking all of Java," said analyst Michael Cote, of 451 Research. "You can imagine in Internet of things scenarios -- like thermostats, lamps, or maybe a coffee pot that tells you when it's finished browsing coffee -- that you'd want a stripped-down Java." Stripped Implementations would produce non-standard Java implementations, which is a major Java taboo, Cote added.

Reinhold still supports Stripped Implementations: "I remain convinced that Stripped Implementations are important to the future of the platform. Once Java SE 8 is out the door I'll look into how we might add this feature to the Platform in a release prior to Java SE 9."

A JDK 8 release candidate, generally considered the final version open for commenting right before the general release, is now available. An Oracle official said last month that JDK8 would be released next month even if minor bugs were still present.

This article, "Java 8 will likely strip out Stripped Implementations," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.


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