What does LTS mean for OpenJDK?

dalibor topic dalibor.topic at oracle.com
Mon Aug 20 13:23:42 UTC 2018

On 17.08.2018 18:36, Stephen Colebourne wrote:
> The LTS (long term support) release Java 11 is nearly upon us. But
> what does LTS mean in the context of OpenJDK? 

Please see http://openjdk.java.net/jeps/322

"If a release is part of a series of releases for which an implementor 
offers long-term support then the value of $OPT should start with "LTS", 
e.g., 11.0.2+13-LTS. This will cause "LTS" to be displayed prominently 
in the output of java --version, etc."

Whether an implementor decides to offer long term support for a given 
OpenJDK release, for how long they do it, which platforms they chose to 
support in this way, is ultimately up to them.

So far Oracle, for example, has cumulatively contributed almost 15 years 
of maintenance to OpenJDK between OpenJDK 6, JDK 7 Updates, JDK 8 
Updates, JDK 9 updates and JDK 10 updates across a lot of different 
OS/CPU platforms.

Over the last couple of years, we have developed a model to transition 
between different teams of maintainers across OpenJDK update releases.

For example, Oracle developers maintained OpenJDK 6 for 5 years. After 
they stepped down, they enabled other developers to take over OpenJDK 6 
maintenance. Those developers, focusing on a different set of operating 
systems from Oracle developers, continued to work on the OpenJDK 6 
source code until, eventually, they stopped. Then another set of 
developers continued where they left, with yet again a different set of 
operating systems that they cared about.

A similar transition has happened with OpenJDK 7 Updates, after almost 4 
years of maintenance by Oracle developers.

A similar transition would also happen for OpenJDK 8 Updates after 
January 2019, assuming that a suitable Project Lead steps forward to 
carry on the maintenance work led by Oracle developers since 2014.

Since such transitions are bound to happen more often under the new 
release cycle, there is a process for them in the JDK Updates Project as 
described in 

You can observe that process in the works via the jdk-updates-dev 
mailing list, specifically with respect to JDK 10 maintenance via 

> What will Java 11 get from Oracle?
Well, long term support, for one, as discussed on 
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/eol-135779.html .

But beside that, it will get a reference implementation in OpenJDK. 
Followed by, assuming that the transition from JDK 10 to JDK 11 proves 
to be as smooth as the transition from JDK 9 to JDK 10 was, at least six 
months of JDK 11 updates maintained by Oracle developers and contributed 
to the corresponding OpenJDK JDK Updates Project jdk11u repository along 
with binaries being published at http://jdk.java.net.

Finally, JDK 11 would get an orderly maintainer transition process.

Specifically, at some point after a jdk11u repo is established in the 
JDK Updates Project, an e-mail to jdk-updates-dev would announce when 
Oracle would stop contributing to that particular repository. For JDK 
10, it looked like this: 

After the last OpenJDK JDK 11u release led by Oracle, a call for future 
11u maintainers such as 
would go out on the jdk-updates-dev list, and, if someone qualified 
stepped up on the list, there would be some work to do on an orderly 
transition of maintainer duties for that repo within the JDK Update 
Project - rather unexciting things like dealing with updates to hgcheck 
and jcheck configurations for the repo, for example.

You can read the jdk7u-dev mailing list archives from the time of 
transition, if you want to know the details. Some details will of course 
end up being slightly different for JDK 11 Updates, since we will use 
the existing JDK Updates Project for jdk11u, we'll have a single repo 
instead of a forest, and so on.

dalibor topic
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