Support or Why I won’t be migrating to Java 9 or 10

Support or Why I won’t be migrating to Java 9 or 10

Support. This is the reason I won’t migrate so fast out of Java8 completely.

This is a short one! I recently wrote about Java9 and Java10, but I also wanted to share my opinion about the (now not so) new 6 month release cycle of Java.


The term Long Term Support first dropped into my life when I started using Linux. Ubuntu for example, is well known (if you are a Linux user) for having 2 releases: A Long and a Short term support, which are usually tagged with XX.04 and XX.10 respectively.

What does this “support” mean?

It means that as long as the company supports the version, you keep getting updates, and most important of all: security updates. After that period, you are on your own.

Well so what does this have to do with anything?

If I am home: doing little coding experiments or playing around with some personal project, I wouldn’t have any problem using the latest version of the language.
But Java is so beloved by the corporate world due to its relative stability. This makes so that banks and other “conservative-craving” institutions tend to choose the Java ecosystem instead of other fancy languages on the market since it means they can test it more in depth and do a roll out with longer time frames.

Times are changing though and java wants to keep up with it. It is not only startups anymore that are using the newer and fancy languages. Also the big companies are starting to try them out. Languages such as Scala, Kotlin and Python have had a wider adoption and they also have a more dynamic, or at least not an inflexible and long release periods like java.
They gain traction with users by fixing errors and adding features quickly. This makes them attractive to the “nouveau-geek”. Still I see this as a strong suit of Java. I have seen it countless times: institutions were still using Java6 (even Java5), while Java8 was not new anymore.

Of course having to deal with older versions is also a pain. If you or your company provide services or products to another company, you will be sad not to be able to use those sweet Java8 lambdas or other cool tricks. Or someone in the company will have to have that awkward conversation with the client and telling him his system is out-dated and he has to upgrade to support the new stuff you have in store for the next version.

So why does having a quicker schedule would change that?

In my opinion, having it like that will only make the developers sad they can’t use the new functionalities of the short term releases. Either because the company has not vetted the newer version yet or because they simply won’t since there is another one coming in six months.

In another hand, it could push these companies to test and approve the newer versions faster and stay more up-to-date. Although I believe the companies will simply skip the short term support releases and go straight to the long term support ones.

Never say never

Am I never going to user java 9/10? Probably I will. I want to test the new stuff and play around. But I also might have to use it in a project or it might make the task at hand a lot easier. There is always more than one possibility. But I will always remind myself and others of the perils of not having long term support.

And you?

How about you? Are you going to switch? Could you convinced me otherwise? I’d like to hear your opinion!

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