The Java language has undergone several changes since JDK 1.0 as well as numerous additions of classes and packages to the standard library. Since J2SE 1.4, the evolution of the Java language has been governed by the Java Community Process (JCP), which uses Java Specification Requests (JSRs) to propose and specify additions and changes to the Java platform. The language is specified by the Java Language Specification (JLS); changes to the JLS are managed under JSR 901. In September 2017, Mark Reinhold, chief Architect of the Java Platform, proposed to change the release train to "one feature release every six months" rather than the then-current two-year schedule. This proposal took effect for all following versions, and is still the current release schedule.
In addition to the language changes, other changes have been made to the Java Class Library over the years, which has grown from a few hundred classes in JDK 1.0 to over three thousand in J2SE 5. Entire new APIs, such as Swing and Java2D, have been introduced, and many of the original JDK 1.0 classes and methods have been deprecated. Some programs allow conversion of Java programs from one version of the Java platform to an older one (for example Java 5.0 backported to 1.4) (see Java backporting tools).
Regarding Oracle Java SE Support Roadmap, version 18 is that latest versions, and versions 17, 11 and 8 are the currently supported long-term support (LTS) versions, where Oracle Customers will receive Oracle Premier Support. Java 8 LTS last free software public update for commercial use was released by Oracle in March 2022, while Oracle continues to release no-cost public Java 8 updates for development and personal use indefinitely. Java 7 is no longer publicly supported. For Java 11, long-term support will not be provided by Oracle for the public; instead, the broader OpenJDK community, as Eclipse Adoptium or others, is expected to perform the work.
Java 17 the latest (3rd) LTS was released on September 14, 2021.
Java 19 General Availability began on September 20, 2022.
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