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Java SE 6 Update N. Is that a real name now?

Posted by kirillcool on October 1, 2007 at 12:37 AM PDT

In what appears to be the latest installment in the naming saga of Java releases, Sun officially renamed the "Consumer JRE" to "Java SE 6 Update N". Originally pioneered by Ethan Nicholas, it had a few sexy names, such as Java Browser Edition, Java Kernel and lately Consumer JRE. And now the official name is out, ant it is the most unpalatable name for a Java release that i have ever heard.

The promise made by Sun at JavaOne 2005 about the new release schedule for JDK was simple - no more minor releases. Starting from JDK 5.0, there will be no longer .1, .2 and so on. Only bug fixes, named with small letter u. It worked with JDK 5.0, and it worked up until now with JDK 6.0 (or JavaSE 6.0 is the official terminology), which also sadly eliminated the nicknames for Java major and minor releases. So what is so different now?

With so many new features in the "Update N", it's not really a bug fix release. It's really a big major release, but marking it as such would make its adoption even more problematic. However, marking it as "Update N" doesn't make any sense at all. What does "N" stand for? Will there be any updates once it's released? Most certainly there will, we're already at update 12 for JDK 5.0. Will that be "N+1"? "N++"? "O"?

Why not admit the obvious? It is a big release with major new features, just like 1.4.2 was compared with 1.4 and 1.4.1. If you don't want to call it 7.0 (which it should really be), name it 6.5. Do you know how many syllables are there in the new name? Eight. How many syllables in "Silverlight"? Three. Apollo? Three. Flex and Flash? One. Make it sexy. Make it scream for headlines.

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