Does the mooted September 22nd 2016 release date for REPL packing Java 9 seem more odious than the Star Wars Episode VII countdown? (52 days, 12 hours, 13 minutes and 46 seconds at time of publication, in case you were wondering.) Has the thrill of pleasure you got from unpacking Java lambdas already dissipated, leaving your craving a fix of something new? If so, take heart: just in time for JavaOne, Azul Systems – providers of 100% Java- and JVM-centric builds with fully supported, standards-compliant Java runtime solutions – has unveiled an early access program for Zulu (Azul’s enterprise ready OpenJDK clone) which supports Java 9.
As of today, developers interested in really getting to know Java 9’s features and capabilities will be able to fully immerse themselves nearly a year ahead of the scheduled drop. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Zulu 9 is open source, freely distributable, and comes packed with all the planned features for Java 9. Azul will push out updates to pre-release versions of Zulu 9 in syncopation with the official OpenJDK Java 9 project.
Stephen O’Grady, Principal Analyst with RedMonk, comments: “In an era where developers are the new kingmakers, early access, multiple-platform support and open source are all prized characteristics… With Zulu 9, Azul is checking all of those boxes with its early release of an open source Java SE.”
In other JavaOne news, although big exciting surprises have been relatively thin on the ground so far (bar a cameo from Sun Microsystems CEO and co-founder Scott McNealy), yesterday’s opening keynote did touch on what Java developers can expect to find in future platform updates. Oracle has been vocal about the changes that modularity effort Project Jigsaw will bring to the platform, and the collateral code disruption that may come in its wake. Though not quite the Javapocalypse that some fear, chief platform architect Mark Reinhold has urged developers to start exploring early – and get back to Oracle with your observations.
If you’re one of those early adopters who are clamouring to dive into Java 9’s binaries and other bits, visit www.zulu.org for Zulu 9 downloads and the accompanying discussion forums. Zulu 9 supports Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X platforms, and works on private and Cloud deployments, including Amazon AWS.