An impassioned plea on version numbers

Peter Lawrey peter.lawrey at
Thu Oct 12 05:22:18 UTC 2017

I favour the version of Java to change when there is a break in backward
compability in the Java language. Ie code written for 18.3 wont compile on
9 if var is used. Bumping the major version without a major changing in the
spec conveys less information imho.

I would favour

Java spec version of release.

Unless the plan is to break backward compatability every 6 months assuming
you utilise the latest language featues.

I guess the question is if you don't know when a java language spec might
change but you want to announce version numbers years in advance and stick
to them. Thus the intent is not to imply anything by the version number
other than a date.

Regards Peter.

On 11 Oct. 2017 6:49 pm, "Aleksey Shipilev" <shade at> wrote:

> On 09/22/2017 08:04 PM, Stephen Colebourne wrote:
> > I propose that versions should simply increase incrementally.
> >  March 2018  - v10
> >  September 2018 - v11
> >  March 2019 - v12
> >  September 2019 - v13
> Yes, that makes more sense than year.month. Maybe x.y.z semver-like scheme
> is better, and 9.0
> already fits there. I have been living with the proposed scheme in my
> mind, on the off-chance the
> novelty of it displeases me, but no, it does not bode well. Quick! What is
> the version of the next
> LTS release? And the one after that? Can you do it without a chart?
> Actually, I can't even do that for Ubuntu. I have to remember that Ubuntu
> 16.04 is LTS, not the
> 16.10. But I did downloaded and installed some Ubuntu images only much
> later realizing they were not
> LTS, because those minor numbers are different. Remembering that only e.g.
> Java 8.*, and Java 10.*,
> and Java 12.* are LTSes would be much, much easier.
> Another perspective: current proposal answers "when the JDK was released",
> which is not the same as
> "what the JDK is". It might appear easier for JDK developers who have JDK
> roadmaps firmly committed
> in their heads, but not for ordinary folks.
> Mark promised a more substantial reply after JavaOne. No pressure ;)
> Thanks,
> -Aleksey

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