Java 8 was released six years ago this month and has been succeeded by several other Java versions. Nevertheless, Java 8 — aka Java Development Kit (JDK) 8 — is likely the most-used version of Java today, an Oracle official acknowledged on March 12.
While 30 percent to 40 percent of Java users are believed to now be using Java 11 or later in production, even more users are probably running Java 8, said Georges Saab, vice president of software development in the Java platform group at Oracle.
For that reason, Oracle recently agreed to offer fee-based Extended-level support for Java 8, featuring additional maintenance and upgrades, until December 2030. Extended-level support for Java 8 was supposed to end in 2025, but customers sought an extension.
Saab cited anecdotal evidence in his assessment of Java 8’s continued prominence. Backing Saab’s assessment, the Snyk JVM Ecosystem 2020 report, published last month, reports that 64 percent of Java users polled are using Java SE (Standard Edition) 8 for their main application in production, while 3 percent reported using an even earlier version. A quarter were using Java 11. The report was based on 2,000 responses from a survey taken in the latter half of 2019.
JDK 8 and JDK 11 have been designated as long-term support (LTS) releases, which Oracle backs with several years of support, while JDK 9, JDK 10, JDK 12, and the upcoming JDK 14 release are feature releases that are supported for six months. JDK 11 is due to receive Extended support until at least September 2026, with an extension to that date possible.
Oracle’s JDK releases are now on a six-month release cadence. JDK 14, featuring capabilities such as switch expressions and a foreign-memory access API, is due to arrive March 17. JDK 17, due in September 2021, would be the next LTS release. Oracle offers subscriptions for support.