[Biojava-l] Increasing Java version requirement for BioJava

Spencer Bliven spencer.bliven at gmail.com
Tue Jan 12 12:16:57 UTC 2016

There has been some informal discussion of increasing the Java version
requirement for BioJava from the current Java 6 to either 7 or 8. It would
be great to hear from the larger BioJava community about whether this would
be a welcome change or not.

I will start the discussion by listing what I see as the pros and cons of
setting each version as the minimum requirement for BioJava.

Java 6:
+ Greatest backwards compatibility
- No updates since Feb 2013
- Some dependencies are not compatible, requiring the use of older versions
(currently only log4j, but could be others in the future)

Java 7:
+ Most popular
<https://plumbr.eu/blog/java/java-version-statistics-2015-edition> version
+ Some minor language features added
- No updates since Apr 2015

Java 8:
+ Tons of awesome new programming features, e.g. lambda functions
+ Only version supported by Oracle
- Not available for many systems

* Note that all versions are backwards compatible, so you can always use a
more up-to-date JDK for downstream projects. Running outdated software is
generally a bad idea, so users are encouraged to use the Java 8 JRE,
regardless of the minimum BioJava requirement.

One thing I would like to get a sense of is how many BioJava users are
still using 6 and 7. @*emckee2006* mentioned on github
<https://github.com/biojava/biojava/issues/364#issuecomment-170710242> that
they still have some servers on 6. I know that getting Java 8 installed on
CentOS is rather painful, so probably some users haven't yet updated to 8.

Let me know if I missed anything!


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