Oracle Extends Support for Java 6

Oracle has extended its support for Java 6 Standard Edition (Java SE 6) for another few months. The company plans to cease providing public updates as of Feb. 19, 2013. After that date, all new security updates, patches and fixes for Java SE 6 and Java SE 5 will require a commercial license that will be available only through the My Oracle Support program.

"It's important for developers and systems administrators to either make the transition over to Java SE 7 or to work with Oracle to get updates via the Java SE Support program," wrote Tori Wieldt, Java developer community, on The Java Source blog .

The end of public updates for this version of the Java language will not affect "the usage, availability, or patching" of Java SE 6 used for Oracle's Fusion Middleware 11g and 12c," Wieldt wrote. "The support schedule for Java SE used for and in Fusion Middleware is not impacted by this announcement," she wrote.

This is the second time Oracle has extended support for Java 6 SE. The company originally planned to end support in July, but then extended support to November. It is Oracle's stated policy to provide support for major releases of Java SE for a minimum of three years from the date of general availability (GA). Java 6 SE went GA in 2009. Oracle supports Java SE commercial product releases for up to eight years from initial release date, the company says, "enabling IT managers to plan their upgrades according to their individual business practices."

Java SE 7 was released in July 2011. It was the first release of the core Java platform under Oracle's stewardship, and the first new version of Java to make it out of the open source community in five years. The most significant changes in that release were the multicore support with Fork/Join, the support for dynamic languages, and the new file-system API.

The new multicore-ready API allowed developers to more easily decompose problems into tasks that could then be executed in parallel across arbitrary numbers of processor cores. A new I/O interface for working with file systems allowed access to a wider array of file attributes and offered more information when errors occur. Language changes in Java SE 7 (Project Coin) were designed to help increase developer productivity and simplify common programming tasks by reducing the amount of code needed, clarifying syntax and making code easier to read. Version 7 also offered with improved support for dynamic languages, including Ruby, Python and JavaScript.

More information about Oracle's Premier Support for the Java SE Platform program is available here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].