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On the naming of Java releases

Posted by robogeek on August 1, 2007 at 12:04 PM PDT

J2EE or JEE, Java 5 or Java 1.5 - Is SUN Crazy?.. Maybe we are crazy, who knows. But it's not unknown in the history of marketing to have product name changes for various purposes. At OSCON last week one presentation was an overview of branding, and the presenter discussed how GTE (General Telephone) had a horrible reputation in the 60's, they realized it would take a generation or more of good behavior to fix that reputation, so instead they changed their name to Verizon.

I'm not sure who 'nitinpai' is but s/he is showering frustration upon the various names Sun's Java implementation has gone under. As an engineer I can only shake my head in bewilderment at some of the things Marketing has done. In this case it just makes me think of the naming changes from SunOS 4.x to Solaris 2.1, 2.2, etc, which eventually became Solaris 8, Solaris 9, Solaris 10, Solaris Developer Express, Solaris 11, etc.

In the beginning there was Java and all was good. Then there was Java2 (just be thankful it didn't become named Java2000). And now there's Java5, Java6, etc. What happened to Java3 and Java4? It's the same thing which happened to Solaris3, Solaris4, Solaris5, Solaris6?

And, this is not an unknown practice. Consider if you will the naming of Windows releases. I believe that Win2000 and WinXP and Windows Vista all have an underlying version of WinNT that you could think of as the "Engineering Version" versus the "Marketing Version". XP is the Marketing version of what Engineers might call Windows NT 6.x (if I've counted right).

JavaTM SE 6, Platform Name and Version Numbers discusses the thinking at the release of Java 6. This is the current definitive statement of how to interpolate the version numbering. The following links are presented as a history of prior forms of versioning Java.

J2SE Code Names is an out-of-date listing of the release version names and project code names.

J2SE SDK/JRE Version String Naming Convention gives you a decoder methodology to help decode the version numbering, except we aren't using that particular set of conventions right now.

Java SE Naming and Versions covers the naming changes which came with Java 6.

Version 1.5.0 or 5.0? discusses the thinking at the release of Java 5.

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