According to Oracle Chief Java Architect Mark Reinhold in a webcast earlier in the month, "We all know for various business and political reasons that this release has taken some time."
According to an estimate by Oracle, some 9 million developers from around the globe use Java. Tiobe Software also estimates that Java is the most widely used programming language in the world, bumping off C and obliterating C++ with twice as many users. Over 3 billion devices around the world run Java and it is deployed by 97% of enterprise desktops worldwide. In addition to that, the Java runtime is downloaded over a billion times each year.
Since Oracle acquired Java as part of its January 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems, the company has come under a lot of scrutiny from a plethora of different quarters for its management. Back in December, the Apache Software Foundation withdrew its participation from the Java Community Process, stating that Oracle did not govern Java as a truly open specification. Oracle has also sued Google for "inappropriate use of Java" in Google's Android mobile OS.
According to Senior Director of Engineering for Red Hat's Middleware Business and Red Hat's Primary Liaison for the JCP Mark Little, however, "The new release is solid, though it is more of an incremental release than anything else."
The new version of Java addresses many of the trends that have overtaken the field of computer programming over the past 10 years. It offers increasingly improved support for the growing number of non-Java dynamic languages that are designed to run on Java Virtual Machine. In addition to that, it also features an API for simplifying the task of running a program across multiple processor cores. Also, the range of actions that programs can take with file systems has been vastly improved as well.
Source: Computer World - Oracle releases Java SE 7