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Important updates about the upcoming 4.0.0 release of the UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java

TL;DR: The next release of the UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java will have a version number of 4.0.0, will require Java SE 7 or later, and there will be just one edition instead of the three editions that we currently maintain.

Although it’s still at least a month or two away, I wanted to make a couple of announcements about the next release of the UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java that might affect some of its users. These are some significant changes, so we’ll bump the version number to 4.0.0.

We’re going to start updating the LDAP SDK to reflect these changes immediately, but there’s still time before the release, so if you do have any concerns or questions about these changes, then now is the time to raise them. The best way to do that is to send us an email at or use the SourceForge project discussion forum.

Requiring Java SE 7 or Later

The first change is that we’re going to require Java SE 7 or later to use the LDAP SDK.

All previous LDAP SDK releases have been compatible with Java SE 5.0 or later, but Java SE 5 is really old. According to, Oracle stopped providing public updates for it in 2009, and even extended support for it ended in 2015. There are a few things in the SDK that don’t work as well if you’re using Java SE 5, and for which we currently have to use reflection to access on newer VMs.

Dropping support for Java SE 5 allows us to simplify that code and potentially take advantage of new Java features that were added in Java SE 6 and 7. We’ll also be able to update some components that we use during the LDAP SDK build process, although this doesn’t have any impact on your ability to use the SDK. And as always, the LDAP SDK does not and will not depend on anything except Java SE, so you won’t need any third-party libraries to use it.

The older releases of the LDAP SDK aren’t going away, so if you really need to run on Java SE 5.0 or 6 for some reason, then you can continue to use one of the existing releases.

Only Releasing a Single Edition

Another notable change is that we’re only going to be providing a single edition of the LDAP SDK moving forward. Right now, we offer three editions:

  • Standard Edition (SE) — A fully-functional LDAP SDK for use with any type of LDAPv3 directory server.
  • Commercial Edition (CE) — Everything in the Standard Edition, plus additional features specifically intended for use in conjunction with the UnboundID/Ping Identity Directory Server, Directory Proxy Server, and other server products.
  • Minimal Edition (ME) — A very stripped-down version of the LDAP SDK that still provides core LDAPv3 support, but with a focus on keeping a very small jar file for space-constrained environments like Android or embedded systems.

Offering a separate Commercial Edition of the LDAP SDK was necessary in the past because it wasn’t open source and we only made it available to customers who had purchased our server software. But since then, we made it open source and publicly available. There were also concerns about a developer accidentally writing code that leveraged proprietary features that would prevent it from working against non-UnboundID/Ping Identity servers, but that’s easy enough to avoid by just staying away from classes in a package below com.unboundid.ldap.sdk.unboundidds.

Similarly, in the earlier days of Android and other Java-based embedded systems, you didn’t have as much room to work with as you do today, so having a Minimal Edition with a significantly smaller footprint was useful, but it did come at the cost of functionality and convenience. And even the Commercial Edition isn’t all that big (the jar file is around 3.5 megabytes, versus 650 kilobytes for the Minimal Edition, and two megabytes for the Standard Edition).

So from now on, we’re just going to have one edition, and we’ll just call it UnboundID LDAP SDK for Java. It’ll have everything in it that the Commercial Edition has, and it’ll continue to be open source under the terms of the GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 (plus the UnboundID LDAP SDK Free Use License, which isn’t open source but lets you use and redistribute the LDAP SDK for just about any purpose as long as you don’t make any changes to it). The jar file will be named unboundid-ldapsdk.jar , and we’ll continue to publish it to Maven with a GroupId of com.unboundid and an ArtifactId of unboundid-ldapsdk.