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Another Java 9 Delay Proposed

The Chief Architect of Oracle's Java Platform Group, Mark Reihold, is asking for a six-month extension of the Java 9 release schedule. The reason: Jigsaw, of course.

Despite the "good progress" made over the past 18 months on the project that will modularize Java, Reinhold said in a post on the OpenJDK mailing list, doing it right will take just a little bit longer.

The current Feature Complete release date for Java 9 is just around the corner, and yet the JSR 376 Expert Group has yet to publish an Early Draft Review specification, Reinhold pointed out. He also expressed concern about "the volume of interest and the high quality of the feedback received over the last two months," which he said "suggests that there will be much more to come."

"[We] want want to ensure that the maintainers of the essential build tools and IDEs have adequate time to design and implement good support for modular development," he said.

Reinhold wants the extra time, but he doesn't want the extension to generate a flood of new features unrelated to Jigsaw or expand the scope of the existing features "without bound."

"It would be best to use the additional time to stabilize, polish, and fine-tune the features that we already have, rather than add a bunch of new ones," he wrote. "The later [Feature Complete] milestone does apply to all features, however, so reasonable proposals to target additional JEPs to JDK 9 will be considered, so long as they do not add undue risk to the overall release."

If the community accepts Reihold's suggestion, the release of the Feature Complete milestone, originally scheduled for Dec. 10, will be pushed back to May 25, 2016, and the rest of the milestone schedule will be adjusted accordingly. If I've got this right (6 months + 15 days), the new JDK 9 schedule could look something like this:

2016-05-25   Feature Complete
2016-07-19   All Tests Run
2016-08-09   Rampdown Start
2016-10-25   Zero Bug Bounce
2016-12-01   Rampdown Phase 2
2017-01-05   Final Release Candidate
2017-03-09   General Availability

The long awaited, much delayed modularization of the Java SE Platform and the JDK is the biggest change to come to Java probably ever; certainly since the support of lambdas in Java SE 8. Brian Goetz, Oracle's rockstar Java Language Architect, has said that support for lambdas in Java 8 would "change the way we program in Java every day." But JSR 376, the Java Specification Request that aims to define "an approachable yet scalable module system for the Java Platform" will bring a fundamentally new kind of programming component to Java. I've talked with industry analysts who wonder if modularizing Java will effectively turn it into a new language.

Another delay is going to frustrate some people -- maybe a lot of people -- but considering the scope of changes coming in Java 9, another six months is probably not too much to ask.

Comments on Reinhold's request from JDK 9 Committers are welcome, he said, as are "reasoned objections." If no one objects (or objections are answered) by 18:00 UTC on Dec. 8, the schedule change will be adopted.

Posted by John K. Waters on December 1, 2015