<Peter>
I find this discussion of Java backward compatibility odd. I remember
several discussions on midrange.com about having to change the classpath
to point to an old version of Java because some software or another
wouldn't work it the newer version.
</Peter>

This discussions where all related to calling java from rpg via JNI support of the RPG compiler. This way is ending up in having all needed and unneeded Java jars in one global classpath. In most cases Poi was one candidate, another was MS SQL JDBC Driver. Some dependencies are going to Johns argument (checking the Java version at runtime to circumvent untested scenarios) other dependencies are going to testing java version to circumvent known bugs, solved in later releases, needing the higher java version. In real java world Maven would do the job for you to solve all dependencies for your Java version you want to use.
For the latest java release it might be possible, that an older release might be the better choice - it might be more stable at the moment (same situation for OS/400: sometimes its better to wait some time until the PTFs make the release stable.

All folks stating that IBM is best in backwards compatibility are reminded on Y2K!!! Tons of applications had to be fixed.

D*B



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