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J2SE 5.0 Update 3: the Third Tiger Cub

Posted by kgh on April 28, 2005 at 2:00 PM PDT

TigerCub4.JPG

J2SE 5.0 Update 3 went out today, so I wanted
to share a few notes on what is happening with the Tiger update
releases.

The Update Release Process

The update releases are intended to each deliver a small
number of important bugfixes between our major releases.
We have now delivered three updates for Tiger: Update 1 had
124 fixes, Update 2 had 117 fixes and Update 3 has 79 fixes.
For descriptions of the fixes see the

5.0 Update Release Notes
.

The update releases are intended to be very small and non-disruptive.
So there are no API changes and the release teams are very conservative
in which bug fixes they accept. We are very conscious that one customer's
bug fix can easily turn into an unintended problem for another customer.
As part of a release like Tiger or Mustang
we have an extensive beta program with long bake periods. This
allows us to
make a larger volume of changes and also to make riskier
changes which require significant public exposure and testing.
The update releases are intended to provide fast relief for
a small number of key issues. They do still get a lot of
heavy-duty QA attention (including a full QA test cycle),
but they don't get the long bake periods and enormous
QA analysis associated with a major release.

There won't be a 5.1

In case you have been wondering, there isn't going to be a 5.1 release.

We will be going straight from Tiger to Mustang, with only small
update releases in between. There won't be anything comparable
to 1.4.1 or 1.4.2.
Mark Reinhold provided a description of the New Release Model in his

Tigers and Mustangs and Dolphins, Oh My!
blog. The main goal is
to increase the predictability of releases and to allow us to deliver
new functionality in a shorter window than the fairly long
gap between 1.4 and 5.0.

We know some people like to wait for the ".1" release before moving
to a major new software release. So we did consider renaming
"5.0 Update 3" as "5.1" just for that reason. But that seemed like it
might cause more confusion than it would solve. But if it makes
you feel better, you can think of 5.0 Update 3 as the ".1" release of
the Tiger family.

So please don't wait for 5.1 to appear: it won't. Go straight to 5.0 Update 3!

Java.com and auto-update

We will not be releasing 5.0 Update 3 on java.com or via auto-update.
Here's why.

Our goal is that the update releases be boring. Seriously!
They are intended to deliver fixes that will be important to
some customers, but they aren't normally a "must-have" item
for typical Java end users. So we don't necessarily want to
push them all out to our mass consumer audience.

Java.com and the java auto-update mechanism are primarily targeted
at making it easy for home consumers to get the JRE.
As part of that, we're trying to make sure that the latest version available via
java.com is the same as the latest version available via auto-update.
But this won't necessarily always be the same as the latest release
that is available on java.sun.com.

We will occasionally use auto-update to propagate a new version
out to the consumer audience, but we want to do that sparingly.
In March we enabled auto-update from 1.4.X to 5.0 Update 2 and as a
result millions of consumers chose to do an auto-update
to Tiger. We're glad they did that, but we don't want to bother
them with another auto-update again too quickly.

Or to say it slightly differently: developers and expert users
who choose to do direct downloads from java.sun.com will sometimes
have access to more recent update releases than the main consumer
downloads available via java.com. Think of that as an extra benefit
for using java.sun.com!

  - Graham

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