Expect Stripped Implementations to be dropped from Java 8

Lucy Carey

Leery of potential licensing issues and platform fragmentation, Mark Reinhold recommends dropping feature, but will push for its return in Java 9.

There was always a chance that the addition to of Stripped Additions to the eighth version of the platform would trigger fragmentation in Java – and now Java Platform Chief Architect Mark Reinhold has recommended making a last minute removal of the feature altogether until  the risk can be minimised.

In an update last Friday, Reinhold wrote, “In order to preserve compatibility and guard against fragmentation, the Stripped Implementations feature of Java SE 8 [1] requires some
nontrivial changes to the TCK license.”

Although he states that he has been working on making these changes with the Oracle legal department on these modifications, with the rush to get Java 8 out on time in March – perfect or not – there simply isn’t time to collate reviews and comments from people such as the JCP Executive Committee, and other groups.

The loss of Stripped Implementations won’t be hugely catastrophic to the potency of the release – roll back a year and imagine if they’d cancelled Project Lambda, arguably the showstopper feature of Java 8,  and you’d have a much bigger outcry.

In case you’d like your memory jogged on what they even do: Stripped Implementations are a feature which enables specific implementations of Java SE bundled within the Java library and the application code that will run on it –  non-code reliant elements could be left out partially or entirely.

Furthermore, according to analyst Michael Cote of 451 Research, “it’s the ability to carve down the JRE/JDK (Java Runtime Environment) to just what’s needed on a device, rather than taking all of Java…You can imagine in Internet of things scenarios — like thermostats, lamps, or maybe a coffee pot that tells you when it’s finished browsing coffee — that you’d want a stripped-down Java.”

Although it’s looking very likely that an emergency Stripped Implementation-ectomy will be taking place, Reinhold goes on to affirm his belief in their importance for the future of the platform, and states that he will be working on making them a viable possibility for Java 9.

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