As you may have heard, there are some changes coming to Oracle's distributions of Java that will affect Cascade CMS on-premise customers.
The short story is that you can expect some changes to the way we bundle Java with Cascade CMS in the near future, but no action is required on your part at this time.
If you manage your own version of Java independent of what we distribute, please read closely as this will affect how you maintain your on-premise Cascade CMS installation. Otherwise, the following is purely informational and an explanation of Hannon Hill’s plan for distributing Java with Cascade CMS.
Cascade CMS currently ships with and depends on Oracle’s Java SE 8. Many of you have inquired about the Oracle Java roadmap and changes to how Oracle is maintaining, distributing, and licensing its Oracle JDK. What follows is a little complicated so please bear with us and feel free to reach out to our team with additional questions.
Free releases of Oracle JDK 8 for commercial use end in January 2019
In January 2019, Oracle will stop publishing free updates to its Oracle JDK 8 for commercial use. All subsequent Oracle JDK 8 and later releases will only be available to commercial users (which includes both you, our customers, and us, a software vendor) with a paid Java SE commercial support contract under a commercial license.
First and foremost, for those of you who run Cascade CMS on-premise, you can continue to use any release of Oracle JDK 8 published up until January 2019 in a commercial capacity indefinitely and for free. This includes anything that we have distributed or will distribute to you.
If you’ve been updating Java independently of what we ship with Cascade CMS, note that no new releases of Oracle JDK 8 or later will be available to you without purchasing a commercial subscription directly from Oracle. Also note that, at this time, Cascade CMS only supports Java 8 and specifically Oracle’s distribution of Oracle JDK 8.
Near-term changes to Java and support for OpenJDK coming in Q1 2019
First, we’ll ship you a version of Cascade CMS bundled with the last freely-available version of Oracle JDK 8 in an upcoming on-premise release.
Then, we’ll move from distributing Cascade CMS with Oracle JDK 8 to distributing with OpenJDK 11 or later.
There are a few good reasons for this change. Switching to OpenJDK is the best way to ensure no additional costs to you, our customers, when running our apps (more on that below). Plus, customers frequently requested the ability to run Cascade CMS on OpenJDK. So we see this as a positive development.
Oracle JDK and OpenJDK have mostly merged in terms of functionality. We’re now in a position to support and distribute our application on OpenJDK in the near future. Oracle, in fact, now publishes its own OpenJDK binaries under a GPL license which we’ll evaluate for inclusion in the product.
Our goal is to release a version of Cascade CMS that supports and is bundled with OpenJDK to you by end of Q1 2019 and hopefully sooner. Until then, any Cascade CMS releases will ship with a perpetually free version of Oracle’s JDK 8. We will not be able to bundle any additional updates to Java released after January until the transition to OpenJDK is complete. We do not have a specific delivery date for this version of Cascade CMS at this time but will notify as soon as we do.
Future considerations for OpenJDK upgrades
After moving to OpenJDK 11 or later, we/you have a few decisions in front of us. OpenJDK has adopted a faster paced release and end of life schedule:
New feature releases of OpenJDK will be available every 6 months (e.g. OpenJDK 11 to 12).
These releases will include new features and fixes and may deprecate or remove existing features from previous releases.
Current releases of OpenJDK (e.g. OpenJDK 11) will be maintained only up until the next new feature release is available (e.g. OpenJDK 12).
After the new release is available, no additional fixes will be released for the previous version. The previous version has effectively reached End of Life at that time. This is a big departure from Oracle JDK where Oracle had maintained and updated JDK 8 for many years after Java 9, 10 and 11 were released.
In our distributions of Cascade CMS, we will either ship the latest version of OpenJDK with the latest features and fixes as soon as we can, or we'll ship a free, commercial build of OpenJDK with back-ported fixes. The latter would allow us (and you) to stay on a particular major version of OpenJDK for longer than 6 months. There are a handful of companies including Azul (see their Zulu builds) who are supporting and distributing older, major versions of OpenJDK with backported fixes for free use and for longer periods of time. We are evaluating these other builds in the event that we decide that updating to a new major version of Java every 6 months is too aggressive a schedule for us and you.
If you intend to maintain your own version of Java and plan to update OpenJDK with each new release, you should know that there may be new releases of OpenJDK that we cannot immediately support for use with Cascade CMS because the version deprecates or removes functionality we rely on. We encourage you to pay close attention to the oldest and latest supported versions of Java in our product release requirements (example release requirements for Cascade CMS 8.11.1) before updating Java yourself.
Our commitment to you
Why are we doing this? We strive to:
deliver you a product that runs on the best available version of Java, and
ensure that there is no additional cost to you for running Cascade CMS with Java on-premise
Moving to OpenJDK will be the best way to achieve both. However, we also recognize the cost associated with frequent upgrades and are doing our best to balance the above goals with the aggressive release and end-of-life schedule that OpenJDK has embraced. This is why we’re also evaluating free, commercially-maintained builds of OpenJDK with longer-term maintenance schedules.
We want to reiterate that unless you’re maintaining your own versions of Java, you will not have to make any changes yourself aside from upgrading Cascade CMS as new releases become available. Look for a release of Cascade CMS with the last free Oracle JDK 8 release here soon. And stay tuned for updates on our transition to OpenJDK.
Also check out the following for more details:
Oracle’s explanation new licensing for its OpenJDK and Oracle JDK builds plus Oracle JDK builds under a non-open source license
The original goal for shipping Cascade CMS with OpenJDK 11 has been pushed back slightly from the end of Q1 2019 to early/mid Q2 2019.