Oracle asks for help planning JDK 8

Oracle's chief architect says it's time to start working on the next-generation Java toolkit, and he wants suggestions.

Oracle wants help in figuring out what should go into Java Development Kit 8, the next-generation development platform for the programming language.

"It's time to start thinking about planning JDK 8," wrote Mark Reinhold, chief architect for the Java platform group in a post to the mail.openjdk.java.net list on Monday. "We already know what some of the big-ticket items are likely to be. There'll be room for other features too, however, both large and small. It's therefore time to define a simple process for collecting, sorting, reviewing, and prioritizing proposals and plans for new features, for JDK 8 and for later releases."

The process should be "as lightweight as possible" with "simple mechanics," as well as "open to all committers, with transparent decision-making," Reinhold said.

"One can imagine all sorts of fancy database-backed systems that would fulfill these requirements, but we need something sooner rather than later," he added. For now, the proposals could be collected in a Mercurial repository as structured text files, Reinhold said.

Oracle, which gained ownership of Java through the acquisition of Sun Microsystems, first set out its road map plans for JDK 7 and 8 at September's JavaOne conference.

While some developers have expressed some concerns over Oracle's stewardship of Java, the company itself is heavily invested in the language, having used it in its Fusion Middleware stack as well as the upcoming Fusion Applications.

Java founder James Gosling told an audience at TheServerSide Java Symposium last week that it's in Oracle's "own self interest to not be aggressively stupid" when it comes to Java.

Still, some tensions persist. Oracle released a preview version of JDK 7 last week, but received complaints from some developers about what they considered to be onerous licensing terms.

But other signs point to harmony in the Java world. Last week, the next version of Java Enterprise Edition was unanimously approved.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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