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Java Versions

Posted on 2009-02-19
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Experts,

        We have a security compliance to meet. We have upgraded our Solaris 8 with the latest Java JDK 1.6.12. No issues. However, the requirements are to either remove the old Java JRE version 1.4.2.06 . Also, JDK version 1.4.2.04, 1.4.2.05, 1.4.2.06 or upgrade them to 1.4.2.18.

How does the versioning work? Is it "safe" to remove the old versions with Solaris 8 and just keep the JDK 1.6.12? Or do I need to upgrade the old versions to the latest 1.4.2.18 to satisfy some requirement for Solaris 8. From what I understand Solaris 8 will not be supported in the near future. Is this true? If this is true, how do I handle the JAVA installs?

Thanks, MIssy Madi
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Question by:missymadi
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Brian Utterback earned 2000 total points
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It should be safe to remove the older versions, but it is not guaranteed. Also, it is easily possible that individual applications have hardcoded the paths to each version that need, so even if a newer version does work, it may break an app to remove
the older one.

It is unfortunately true that Java has not provided any kind of backwards compatible guarantee. I know that very early on, an
upgrade changed the exception handling model and that was not a compatible change. As far as I know, there has not been
such an incompatibility introduced since. That was between java 1.1 and java 1.2. It was at that point they started calling the
versions by their minor number, i.e. Java 1.2 became known as Java 2, just as 1.6 is known as Java 6. But this is mostly
to differentiate what has been added.

As far as support for Solaris 8, that is not cut and dried. It is true that the Solaris 8 OS itself is very nearly at it's end of support
life, which means that no new patches will be released for it. However, this does not necessarily mean that there will no
longer be new Java versions that run on it. The Java group is a different group and could very well continue to release
JVM versions that ran on Solaris 8. But it does seem unlikely that they would do that, or if they do, it probably wouldn't be for too long.

You should upgrade off of Solaris 8 soon if possible.
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