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Oracle's JDK Roadmap for Java SE

In the wake of what is just over one year since Oracle adopted the stewardship of Java, there has been comparatively less news emanating from the corporate portals that now govern the programming language and platform as to its future direction.

Aiming to redress this imbalance, Oracle used its Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne 2010 conference this week to announce plans for advancement of the Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) and talk about how it wants to optimize it. This improvement program will now include new application models and hardware, extended support for scripting languages, increased developer productivity focus and work to lower operational costs.

This week's newly announced roadmap for the OpenJDK establishes an intention to accelerate the availability of Java SE with two releases, one in 2011 and one in 2012. These OpenJDK releases will continue to serve as the basis for the Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) 7 and JDK 8. Oracle says that decisions regarding the features to be included in the JDK 7 and JDK 8 releases have been made with active participation of the Java community.

"Oracle has a strong vested interest in the success of the Java platform and is firmly committed to advancing Java SE and accelerating its release schedule," said Adam Messinger, vice president of development, Fusion Middleware, Oracle. "Oracle also recognizes the pivotal role that the Java community serves in the evolution of the Java platform and pledges to increase both our collaboration with the community and the openness of our development process."

In the face of what is almost certainly some widespread industry skepticism, Oracle says that the OpenJDK project continues to thrive with contributions from the company itself, as well as other research bodies and individuals.

Oracle notes that it is currently working to merge the Oracle Java HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the Oracle JRockit JVM into a converged offering that leverages the best features of each of these implementations. It also plans to contribute the results of the combined Oracle Java HotSpot and Oracle JRockit JVMs to the OpenJDK project.

The Oracle JDK and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) will continue to be available as free downloads, with no changes to the existing licensing models. During this time, the OpenJDK licensing model remains the same.

Proposed JDK 7 features include:

  • InvokeDynamic bytecode and supporting features for dynamic languages
  • Fork/Join Framework and related concurrency and collections API enhancements for improved multi-threaded Java code
  • Small Language Enhancements (most of "Project Coin") for higher developer productivity and cleaner, more concise Java code
  • Session Description Protocol (SDP) and Stream Control Transport Protocol (SCTP) support
  • New I/O APIs -– A flexible file system API and asynchronous I/O
  • Support for updated standards -- Unicode, localization, security, cryptography, XML and JDBC
  • JVM performance improvements

Proposed JDK 8 features include:

  • Lambda expressions ("closures") for higher developer productivity and better leveraging of multi-core CPUs
  • Small language enhancements (Remaining parts of "Project Coin")
  • A Java-native module system ("Project Jigsaw") to simplify the construction, packaging, and deployment of applications
  • JVM start-up time and ergonomics improvements

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