Following the Oracle acquisition, there were some delays in integration that slowed things down. Mark explains that there are two plans at the moment:
Plan A: JDK 7 (as currently defined) Mid 2012
Plan B: JDK 7 (minus Lambda, Jigsaw, and part of Coin) Mid 2011
JDK 8 (Lambda, Jigsaw, the rest of Coin, ++) Late 2012
Plan B looks good to me. It's low impact, gets the basic release out to developers sooner, and would probably take the pressure off development of Lambda, Jigsaw & Coin. As I'm sure most software developers would agree, it's better to have more small releases, than one release with a hard to reach goal. We have high expectations for Java releases, so it's best to keep quality in mind rather than rush something out. In fact, with such a high profile release, a rushed delivery could really damage Java's reputation.
As Mark says:
"This approach would give developers production-quality access to the nearly-?nished features sooner rather than later, and with much less risk. It would also allow more time to really shake out Lambda and Jigsaw, which is critical given that these higher-risk efforts are making deep changes to the very foundations of the platform. "
Things aren't all that bad for Java developers - we get regular updates on the Java6 stream with continuous improvements. A lot of the functionality we need can be provided by other frameworks and libraries. So, which plan would you choose?