Oracle proposes to shift the cadence of JDK LTS releases from every three years to every two years. If accepted, this means that the next JDK LTS release after JDK 17 will JDK 21, rather than JDK 23.
Duration of the Oracle JDK LTS support remains unchanged, starting at a minimum of eight years for each LTS release.
The release of JDK 17 is a perfect time to reflect on the release cadence introduced several years ago and make any course corrections for the future. Developers and organizations have had time to adjust from the “massive change every few years” model to the more digestible six-month release cadence.
While recent developer surveys show six-month (non-LTS) releases being used by between a quarter and half of developers surveyed, only about half of those note their use is in production. Toolchains have certainly adapted with most popular developer tools and frameworks quickly adding support for new Java six-month releases, sometimes even before the full GA date. Therefore, while six-month use continues to grow across the board, the feedback is clear – most organizations still prefer to target LTS versions for production use.
With that in mind, it makes sense to adjust our future LTS releases to a two year cadence. This will give enterprises and developers more frequent opportunities to move an application onto an LTS release knowing it will remain supported long-term with necessary stability, security and performance updates. It also makes the use of six-month releases more appealing as organizations know the next available LTS will always be less than two years away. Oracle intends to start each LTS release with the standard 8 years minimum of long term support, offering Java SE Subscription customers ample time and opportunity to migrate between Oracle JDK LTS releases if and as necessary.