Proposed new schedule for Java SE 8

Nick Williams nicholas at
Wed May 1 07:53:24 PDT 2013

> As I wrote earlier today on my blog [1], the Java 8 schedule is no
> longer achievable due to a renewed focus on security on the part of
> all of us here at Oracle.
> There are many options for how to proceed from here, some of which I
> discuss in the blog entry.  As I've written previously [2], the most
> important work that's slipped is related to Project Lambda, the sole
> driving feature of the release.  Our current estimate is that we can
> finish the remaining work on Lambda by early May, about three months
> later than planned.  The other remaining features are not release
> drivers, so in theory we could just drop them from the release, but
> if Lambda needs more time then there's no point in doing that.
> With all that in mind, I think the least-bad option is to slip the
> schedule just enough to finish Lambda.
> Here, then, is a proposed new schedule for the Java SE 8 JSR:
>  2013/6   Early Draft Review
>  2013/10  Public Review
>  2013/12  Proposed Final Draft
>  2014/2   Final Release
> A Final Release in February of 2014 is, of course, more than three
> months later than the current goal of August.  At this point we're not
> confident that we could be ready to release the Reference Implementation,
> JDK 8, in November, and experience has shown that it's almost always a
> bad idea to try to ship a major software release in December, so that
> pushes the release date well into the first quarter [3].
> The intent here is not to open the gates for a flood of new features,
> nor to permit the scope of existing features to grow without bound.
> We'd likely propose a select few additional features, especially in
> areas related to security.  In general, however, we'd use the additional
> time to stabilize, polish, and fine-tune the features that we already
> have rather than add a bunch of new ones.
> Is this the best possible course of action?  I think it's better than
> the alternatives, but I'm open to suggestions.  I'd like to hear from
> the rest of you by this time next week, please, so that we can settle
> on a new schedule.
> - Mark
> [1] 
> [2] 
> [3] 

[Note: Thanks to Mark for sorting out why my emails weren't getting delivered to the mailing list. I originally sent the message below 2013-04-21T18:52:10-05:00.]

I have three major thoughts in reaction to this post:

1) I understand why the schedule has to slip. Things come up, and security is of the utmost importance. It sucks, but it is what it is.

2) Dropping Lambdas would be catastrophic (I understand that's not the plan, just making clear that it should never be the plan). I see no reason to adopt Java 8 without Lambdas. Sure, there is the new Date & Time API, which is exciting, but I'm already using Joda Time. I'll convert eventually, but I probably won't bother updating to Java 8 if it lacks Lambdas (to be clear, I'm not suggesting you get rid of Date & Time either ... Java developers have been waiting on that for > 10 years). Additionally, I'm working on a Java book for a popular publisher that will include the new Java 8 features in it. These books have about a 16-month production schedule to them, so we have to start working on them well beforehand (risky, for sure, but a fact of life). Dropping Lambdas would be catastrophic for the book as well.

3) While I understand the schedule slip, I don't understand why it's so much—six months!? I've been using Lambdas, Date & Time, and other Java 8 features since February. Everything seems very stable to me. I understand that some API changes remain, but I'm having a hard time seeing how it's six months behind to me. That just doesn't make sense. Is a Developer Preview [sic: I meant "Final Release Candidate"] in November followed by General Availability in January really not possible?

[My follow-up to this as of today, May 1st.]

Unfortunately, due to the mailing list rejecting my emails, my comments above were never seen or responded to before the new schedule got approved, so I doubt my comments will have any weight. I would like to understand whether this schedule is worst-case or only-case. That is, is it possible if things go really well, bug count is low, and much developer feedback is provided, that Java 8 could come out sooner than scheduled assuming it's ready, or will it ONLY come out on this date, even if it's ready earlier?

My $0.02.


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