The timetable for JDK 7 has been announced. Is the forward pace enough to allow Oracle to gain some approval for what it is doing? Or will the doubts about how open Java will be in the future spoil the party?
Oracle is pushing ahead with the development of future versions of Java despite the problems in the community. Following the "plan B" approach to pushing Java forward in two steps rather than one we now have the timings for JDK 7 - a more modest but welcome upgrade. The whole project should be completed by May 2011:
- 2010/12/16 Feature Complete
- 2011/04/12 Rampdown start: P1-P3 bugs only
- 2011/04/28 API/interface changes: Showstoppers only
- 2011/05/11 All targeted bugs addressed; First release candidate built
- 2011/05/18 Bug fixes: Showstoppers only
- 2011/06/08 Final test cycle starts
- 2011/07/28 General Availability
You can see a full list of features planned for JDK 7 here but the highlights include: improved Java 2D rendering, support for dynamic languages, better concurrency control targeting multi-core processors, new I/O APIs, IPV6 support, JDBC upgrade and more depending on you particular interests - personally I am looking forward to the Elliptic-curve cryptography implementation, for example.
There are also some welcome additions and improvements to Swing in both JDK 7 and 8 including the application framework.
All the big language changes - lambdas, collections and annotations - are pushed into the future as part of JDK 8, which is scheduled for October 2012. So the real goodies are still a long way off.
It is good that the pace of change has picked up and Java is moving forward to become a fully modern language.
Is this enough for Oracle to be forgiven?
There is the big showdown with the Apache Software Foundation over the use of Harmony and in this respect having good plans for the future could improve Oracle's situation - but it seems unlikely as a matter of principle is at stake. Apache wants the JCP to vote against Oracle's proposals unless it grants a licence to Harmony - an alternative open source JDK and the one that Google used to create Android.
On the other hand there is also the matter of "public" opinion. Java programmers want better facilities and the road map that Oracle has proposed seems both reasonable and desirable. This could make a difference of perception.
My guess is that it all depends on how hard it presses on with its clear intent to make money out of Java and how open the "free" tier of the Java infrastructure is perceived to be.