Oracle to keep Java 6 on life-support until February 2013

Oracle is keeping its geriatric Java SE 6 development platform on life-support for a bit longer, it seems, after the US computing giant announced it will not send the programme to the great software graveyard until next year.

Originally, it was proposed that developers should have until July of this year to make for Java 7, but way back in February, Oracle extended Java SE 6's end-of-life deadline to November. Now, version 6 of the Java Development Kit (JDK) won't have its plug pulled until February 2013, according to a blog post on the company's website.

"JDK 6 was the default JDK for over 5 years, and so it seems fair that it have a longer publicly available support time-frame than past major releases," wrote Henrik Stahl, senior director for Java platform technology at Oracle.

"After further consultation and consideration, the Oracle JDK 6 End of Public Updates will be extended through February, 2013. This means that the last publicly available release of Oracle JDK 6 is to be released in February, 2013," he added.

Looking to the future – the firm said that Java 8 and Java 9 are both on track – Oracle says that support for major Java iterations will cease when three stipulations are met: the version to be put down must be three years old, the subsequent version must have been around for at least one year, and six months needs to have passed since the subsequent version was given default status.

At present, Java SE 6 satisfies two of those criteria. It's certainly a tad rickety, having entered general availability over five years ago, while the present-generation JDK version, Java SE 7, was released in July 2011 - though it has only been default since May of this year.