I am undecided on the subject. There clearly always are reasons to use
newer/better version but is JDK 7 support really blocking us somewhere?
Bugs we cannot fix / need to awkwardly compensate, features we can not
deliver on Java 7?
I felt much stronger against dropping Java 6 as we identified several
architecture/OS combinations with no Java 7+ vendor making the platforms
(RHEL4, itanium architecture, Solaris 9 (IIRC)) not usable as Jenkins
nodes. (Yes, you can run agent on older Java version but it causes subtle
problems.) However, oracle does not seem to drop any of the platforms (at
least those we care for) between 7 and 8.
What we can do right now, to make this a bit less troublesome to users and
easier to digest for community, is creating a general time plan for
dropping support of JDKs (or other things) we would follow in specific
cases. Something like:
- Month 0: Announce the intention publicly, with this plan attached.
- Month 3: Drop support for Jenkins weekly. Declare what LTS will be the
last one to support the think we are dropping. Since we gave people time to
get prepared, we do not have to try hard to prolong the support in LTS
branch. IOW, I see no reason to do whole new LTS line after the support was
dropped for weeklies.
- Month 3-5: LTS.1 with support dropped is released.
- Month 12?: In case of Java, encourage the use from plugins / use it as
default. Extending the support in plugins allow people to consume plugin
updates/fixes after upstream has dropped support without upgrading Java.
This is especially subtle as IIRC plugin manager offers plugin updates
(perhaps even core ones) that require newer Java version than the one
installed on master, and there is no guarantee plugin that needs Java 8
require core with same requirement.
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