Paul has posted 1 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Help, I'm Still Using Java 1.4!

06.05.2008
| 10264 views |
  • submit to reddit

As many people know, the most current Java Release Family is Java 6.6.  It was made available to the general public back in December 2006.  Java 7 - Codename Dolphin is in beta, but the development community is expecting it to be released sometime in 2008.  With the introduction of the new, it is also time to say goodbye to the old.  The Java 1.4 family will reach its End of Service Life (EOSL) this year, in October 2008.  This means that that release family will no longer be supported by Sun, nor will they distribute the SDK or JRE anymore.  Similarly, Sun announced in April that the EOSL for Java 5.x will be in October of 2009.

What does this mean for companies still developing against Java 1.4 or Java 5.0?

If you are still using a Java 1.4x version, it might be time to cut the cord.  Let’s face it, we’ve known since Java 6 was released in December 2006 that it would be phased out.  Most major vendors have made the switch to Java 5, so it will quickly become more work to maintain a java 1.4 application than it would be to upgrade it.  The same cannot be said for Java 5.0 though.  The adoption of Java 6 has not come as quickly as Java 5, and many major players don’t support it yet.

Fortunately, Sun recognized that some businesses required longer periods of support and maintenance, and have provided us with a solution.  The Java SE for Business Release Families is a relatively new product subscription model that is designed to more than double Sun’s support periods for releases.  Customers using older release families, such as 1.4 or 5, who wish to continue to do so can subscribe to the Java SE for Business version to continue receiving critical reliability, availability and security updates from Sun.  With retirement support, this can extend the support period of Java 1.4 all the way to 2018.  Support for Java 5.0 can be extended to 2019.

Granted, this is a subscription service, so there is a charge associated with it.  To continue to use the freely distributed and supported versions of Java, customers should upgrade when feasible.

From http://www.sundog.net/index.php/sunblog

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Paul Bourdeaux.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Tags:

Comments

Mark Haniford replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 12:03pm

Java 7 - Codename Dolphin is in beta, but the development community is expecting it to be released sometime in 2008

 

I don't think so. It'll be lucky to come out in '09.

Brian Sayatovic replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 12:05pm

I'm still using Java 1.4 at work.  Primarily, its because our container version requires 1.4, and we've not upgraded our container yet.  Furthermore, I'm still apprehensive of some of the new features in Java 1.5 (e.g. autoboxing, annotations) so I'm not personally driving hard for this

Paul Bourdeaux replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 1:43pm in response to: Brian Sayatovic

Hi Brian,

Some of the clients that we develop for are in the same boat - the containers they use still require 1.4, so they have not upgraded.  When the EOSL hits, they will lose support for the container version they are using because the container vendor is not going to subscribe to the Business Releases.  Developing code, or even maintaining code, against an unsupported jre and container version increases risk in a project.

Out of curiousity, why the apprehension for the move to Java 1.5?  I have found in my own personal experience that the transition was not all that painful - you aren't required to use features like autoboxing or annotations.

Konstantin Chikarev replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 2:19pm

JDK 1.4 is pretty new. Some companies still use old Weblogic with JDK 1.3 :)

Steven Baker replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 6:14pm

Personally, I'll move to Java6 when it stops giving me Hotspot crashes so frequently.

Steven Baker replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 6:17pm

[quote] Some companies still use old Weblogic with JDK 1.3 :)[/quote]

this is my new job at the moment.

going from Java5 on the latest Web containers to this was a big slap in the face

George Jempty replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 7:07pm

Could be worse, you could have idiots still using Vector as though we were still on Java 1.1, like at my company

Jean-Francois Briere replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 7:25pm in response to: Paul Bourdeaux

[quote=NodakPaul]

Out of curiousity, why the apprehension for the move to Java 1.5? 

[/quote]

Maybe the billion unchecked warnings that you get when you compile your legacy code with javac 1.5 ?

 

Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Thu, 2008/06/05 - 10:15pm

Java 1.6 runs much faster than 1.4, and has been rock solid with JBoss running in it with tons of database and jms stuff.  On the client side, 1.6 has also been rock solid, using java2d, Swing, rich interface stuff.  Mostly Linux on the server, and a mixture of Windows and Linux on the client side.  I'm guessing about 300+ systems in total.  I see no point in not going to 1.6.

Alex(JAlexoid) ... replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 12:50am

Even IBM has upgraded Websphere AS to 1.5 long time ago!

Come on.... IBM is probably the most slowest(conservative if you like it better)! How can anyone else be slower!

Brian Sayatovic replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 5:52am in response to: Paul Bourdeaux

[quote=NodakPaul]

Out of curiousity, why the apprehension for the move to Java 1.5?  I have found in my own personal experience that the transition was not all that painful - you aren't required to use features like autoboxing or annotations.

[/quote] A few reasons, all probably FUD. Lots of compile warnings come up when I compile older code with 1.5. Some features in 1.5 I think are pretty dangerous (e.g. autoboxing, annotations) and I'm fearful we'd go overboard with some of them. Mind you, none of that will stop us from going to 1.5. When we upgrade out container (which is also going out of maintenance), we'll be on 1.5, whether I'm ready or not. I'm sure the benefits will outweigh my concerns.

Paul Bourdeaux replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 8:03am in response to: Mike P(Okidoky)

I agree, the JRE in 1.6 is much faster than 1.4 or even 1.5, although I've noticed that applications compiled in 1.5 and run in 1.6 seem to run the best.

Paul Bourdeaux replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 8:19am in response to: Jean-Francois Briere

[quote=jfbriere][quote=NodakPaul]

Out of curiousity, why the apprehension for the move to Java 1.5? 

[/quote]

Maybe the billion unchecked warnings that you get when you compile your legacy code with javac 1.5 ?

[/quote]

LOL.  Let me guess, all of the varargs calling case warnings?  While these are only warnings - the code will still compile - they do present a major problem.  Developers have taken to just ignoring them.  This is a problem because ignoring warning logs can cause you to miss other warnings that might be more serious.

Ignacio Coloma replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 10:17am

If you want support for java 1.4 for a few more years, you could switch to IBM JDK, which has a longer lifespan. Finding it is tricky, though.

 OTOH, switching to java 5 is not hard at all, and you have the best of arguments to convince the PHB.

Mike P(Okidoky) replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 1:31pm

I don't understand all this 1.4 to 1.5 stuff.  What the heck is with the avoiding of 1.6?  1.6 is better than 1.5.  Why stick with 1.5?  1.6 has all sorts of new things in it.

Paul Bourdeaux replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 1:55pm in response to: Mike P(Okidoky)

[quote=okidoky]I don't understand all this 1.4 to 1.5 stuff.  What the heck is with the avoiding of 1.6?  1.6 is better than 1.5.  Why stick with 1.5?  1.6 has all sorts of new things in it.[/quote]

Many containers have not upgraded to 1.6 yet.  For instance, the Oracle Application Servers are still on 1.5.  This is probably a conbination of waiting for bugs to be workd out, as well as a predeterined application stablilization period in which major upgrades, like switching java version, is prohibited.

Plus, upgrading legacy code to newer vesions of Java cost money - and may have very little benefit if upgrading simply to upgrade.

Raveman Ravemanus replied on Fri, 2008/06/06 - 2:13pm in response to: Paul Bourdeaux

i wont work for company that is still using 1.4 even if they pay better. For me that just shows where company is going with technology. its not like 5 is new, its old. java5 or java6 is the same to me - i dont need nothing from java6 at my job.

Henk De Boer replied on Sat, 2008/06/07 - 7:01am

[quote]i wont work for company that is still using 1.4 even if they pay better.[/quote]

Just this 'small' argument was already enough reason for the company I work with to adopt a policy to always use the latest versions (within a reasonable limit) of most everything we use. I live in Holland, Europe, and over here good developers are incredibly hard to find. We found that our policy is really helping in attracting good developers. Most of those guys get -at least- 10 or more job offers these days. The *really* passionate developers care far less about the money than they care about the technology that is being used. By offering a work environment where we allow them to work with fairly recent versions of technology, it might just give them this little push toward us instead of towards our competitors.

Besides that, if you continuously update, you always update in small increments and the problems involved are typically manageable. E.g. our current main application platform started at Java 1.3 and we fairly quickly upgraded to 1.4 and 1.4.2. The day Java 5 came out, our developers where already testing and developing against it in our back office. After some rigorous testing, we found it to be absolutely stable aprox. 8 months after it came out and deployed it to our live servers. With Java 6, we were already testing with it before it was officially released. We found very few to no problems at all and were able to deploy it to our production servers some 4 months after it was released. No I can imagine that if you stayed with 1.4 all the time, an upgrade to 6 would be quite hard. Also, some companies might have a dependency on something which just hasn't upgraded yet. I mean, if you depend on Jboss, and Jboss doesn't run on Java 6, *of course* you can't upgrade. But a soon as Jboss does release a Java 6 compatible AS, you could start testing with it. Saying that you can't upgrade since you depend on the container, when the container is already available in a new version, is a lame reason.

Alex(JAlexoid) ... replied on Sat, 2008/06/07 - 7:45am in response to: Ignacio Coloma

 [quote]If you want support for java 1.4 for a few more years, you could switch to IBM JDK[/quote]

 According to this: http://www-111.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycle/PLCDetail.wss?synkey=C578916B44100K52&from=spf

And tha fact that WAS 6.1 is on version 1.5, moving to IBM's JDK 1.4(available with WAS 6.0 and below) you would gain about 1 year and up to 6 months. But IBM's JDK has its own set of problems.

cowwoc replied on Sat, 2008/06/07 - 11:22pm

[quote]With retirement support, this can extend the support period of Java 1.4 all the way to 2018[/quote]

 

I hope Sun charges an arm and a leg for this kind of support. I'd hate to have to support older JRE releases either as Sun or as a developer working with some client stuck back in time. There is absolutely no good reason for people to be using this old version. I blame Mr. Slow Adoption itself: IBM :)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.