JDK 8 Shipping in March, Even if Not Bug Free

As March 18, the final release date of the Java Developer Kit 8 (JDK8), approaches, the Java community could hardly be faulted for holding its collective breath. After all, the release date has been put off twice, largely because of issues around Project Lambda (JSR 335). And Jigsaw was dropped from this release.

But in an update on JDK 8's release status posted to the OpenJDK mailing list, Mathias Axelsson, Oracle's JDK 8 Release Manager, offered assurances that this version of the reference implementation of the Java SE 8 Platform will ship in March, even with a few bugs.

"At this stage only showstoppers are being considered for fixing in the initial JDK 8 release," Axelsson wrote. "Non-showstopper bugs will be deferred to a later release in order to ensure we keep to the JDK 8 schedule and can ship on March 18."

The most anticipated enhancement in JDK 8 is Project Lambda, (JSR-335), which adds closures (aka "lambda expressions") and related features to the Java language to support programming in multicore environments. Project Lambda comprises lambda expressions, default methods, and method references to the Java programming language, and it extends the libraries to support parallelizable operations upon streamed data. Closures, which undergird the functional programming model, are a big part of JVM languages, such as Groovy, Scala, and Clojure.

"JDK 8 is in many ways the Lambda release at this point," IDC analyst Al Hilwa told ADTmag in an earlier interview.

Brian Goetz, Oracle's rock star Java Language Architect, proclaimed at September's JavaOne conference that Lambda "is going to change the way we all program in Java every day."

Oracle had expected to ship JDK 8 in late 2012, but a spate of much publicized security problems around the browser plugin lead to another postponement. At the time, Mark Reinhold, Chief Architect of the Java Platform Group at Oracle, explained the decision in his blog: "Maintaining the security of the Java Platform always takes priority over developing new features, and so these efforts [to address security] have inevitably taken engineers away from working on Java 8."

The company did ship a preview build for testing by developers, Milestone 8, in September.

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].