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From Ferdinand Soethe <>
Subject Re: required Java version (Was: Questions about the release instructions)
Date Thu, 09 Jun 2005 20:28:40 GMT

To make that clear before I argue any further:

I accept that there are at least two people in favor of using 1.4.1
and so we should do that of course.

But I'd still like to argue my case :-)

Ross Gardler wrote:

>> 1. If we test against anything other than the most recent fix version
>>    of Java we might have to develop fixes for problems that have
>>    already been solved by the Java folks.

> Minor releases of Java are intended to be backward compatible, we have
> to go with the assumption that they are.

Backwards compatibility obviously cannot mean that a version with bugs
(that might cause problems with Forrest) will not cause this problem
because the fix version (where that bug is fixed) is supposed to be
backward compatible.

It would only mean that this fixed version should also work with a
Forrest that works with the buggy earlier version.

So, we would be creating a workaround for a Java bug that the fixed
version might no require any longer. => do double work.

> In addition, Forrest is developed and used in many different versions (I
> have clients in 1.4.1, 1.4.2 and 1.5.0 environment, I am sure many other
> devs use it in multiple environments too. In other words it is being
> tested all the time in different environments. The testing in the 
> release process is just a little more rugged.

>> 2. Installing the latest Java fix might solve
>>    problems with other Java software and close up some security holes, so
>>    people would benefit in more than one respect.

> You must understand that Forrest is used in production environments 
> where upgrading Java is not a trivial thing. If we insist on "the 
> latest" fix version we will be preventing people from upgrading to 
> Forrest 0.7.

From my working with a few huge bank organizations I observed that
they will not do regular upgrades when it comes to feature releases
such as 1.5 or 2.x.

I also found that it is very hard to predict which feature version
they will use at what time.

But they usually try to follow fix releases (third decimal) quite
closely because - as you said - these don't introduce new
features/bugs, cause few compatibility problems and usually fix

> In other words, Forrest is not that important to users that they will
> spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars/euros/pounds upgrading their
> environment for it.

>> 3. Using the latest fix is usually the common denominator for all
>>    software using common layers like Java.

> That is not my experience. If that was the case we would be using Jave
> 1.5,

Seconds decimals in my understanding are minor feature releases which
means new features, new problems.

> but the reality is that most companies are always at least pne 
> major release behind the curve because major releases usually introduce
> bugs.


> I even have a client still on Java 1.2.2 (not using Forrest though).

>> So short of knowing that the latest fix has such a big problem, I'd
>> suggest to test against that unless somebody comes up with more good
>> reasons why not to.

> I'm -1 on testing any later than 1.4.1, my resons are above. Like all
> veto's I'll remove it under community pressure and good argument, but
> none of those presented above are strong enough for me at this time. Soryy.

Fine by me.

Ferdinand Soethe

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