In a news bulletin Oracle recently announced that they will change the version numbering scheme for the next upcoming releases of the JDK. The new scheme will affect the way that update release numbers are assigned for all upcoming releases of JDK 5.0, JDK 6 and JDK 7.
According to Oracle, the following rules will be applied for assigning update release numbers:
- Limited Update releases will be numbered in multiples of 20.
- [Oracle intends] for Critical Patch Updates to continue to use odd numbers. The numbers will be calculated by adding multiples of five to the prior Limited Update and when needed adding one to keep the resulting number odd.
The main reason behind this decision is to assure that there will be several unused numbers between individual releases so as to allow for the insertion of unscheduled releases, such as security alerts or support releases without having to renumber existing releases. This will ensure backwards compatibility with software systems expecting the traditional version numbering scheme of the JDK and allows to create predictable release numbers for future Java releases.