Upgrading to Java 11

When upgrading the JVM used to run Jenkins from Java 8 to Java 11, there are some details you should know and precautions you should take.

Backing up Jenkins

As with any upgrade, we recommend:

  1. Backing up JENKINS_HOME.

  2. Testing the upgrade with your backup.

  3. Only after all required tests pass, performing the upgrade on your production instance.

If you need to upgrade Jenkins, as well as the JVM, we recommend you:

  1. Back up JENKINS_HOME.

  2. Stop the Jenkins instance.

  3. Upgrade the JVM on which Jenkins is running.

    • Use a package manager to install the new JVM.

    • Ensure the default JVM is the newly installed version.

      • If it is not, run systemctl edit jenkins, and set either the JAVA_HOME environment variable or the JENKINS_JAVA_CMD environment variable.

  4. Upgrade Jenkins to the most recent version.

    • How you upgrade Jenkins is dependent upon your original Jenkins installation method.

      We recommend that you use the package manager of your system (such as apt or yum).
  5. Validate the upgrade to confirm that all plugins and jobs are loaded.

  6. Upgrade the required plugins. Refer to Upgrading Plugins for further information.

Starting with Jenkins releases 2.357 and LTS 2.361.1, Java 11 or Java 17 is required.

Upgrading Plugins

When upgrading the Java version for Jenkins and the JVM, it is important to upgrade all plugins that support Java 11. Plugin upgrades assure compatibility with the most recent Jenkins releases.

If you discover a previously unreported issue, please let us know. Refer to how to report an issue for guidance.

Jakarta XML Binding

Some plugins use JAXB libraries provided by the JDK. However, the java.xml.bind and javax.activation modules are no longer included in OpenJDK 11, and plugins might fail if no replacement is offered.

To fix this problem, we’ve bundled those libraries into a new detached plugin: JAXB plugin. When any Jenkins core more recent than 2.163 is running on Java 11, this plugin is automatically installed. However, if you manage your plugins outside Jenkins, for example using a plugins.txt in your Docker images, you might need to install the plugin explicitly.

JVM version on agents

All agents must be running on the same JVM version as the controller due to how controllers and agents communicate. If you’re upgrading your Jenkins controller to run on Java 11, you must upgrade the JVM on your agents.

You can validate the version of each agent with the Versions Node Monitors plugin. This plugin provides information about the JVM version of each agent on the node management screen of your Jenkins instance. You can also configure this plugin to automatically disconnect any agent with an incorrect JVM version.

Java Web Start

Java Web Start has been removed in Java 11. When a Jenkins controller runs on Java 11, the Java Web Start button will no longer appear in the Web UI. You can’t launch agents for a Java 11 Jenkins controller from a *.jnlp file downloaded to a web browser.

There are no plans to replace this functionality. Connect agents to Jenkins on Java 11 with plugins like SSH Build Agents Plugin, with operating system command line calls to java -jar agent.jar, or using containers.

JDK Tool Installer

Oracle JDK 11 licensing prevents the Jenkins community from listing the Oracle JDKs. Because of this licensing restriction, Oracle JDK 11 can’t be automatically installed by Jenkins. This problem is tracked in the issue JENKINS-54305.

As an alternative, we encourage you to use containers based on images that contain all the tooling needed for your builds.

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