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I'm glad you added that last line, because that's basically the whole story. Java is /very/ backwards compatible, and it's got round the...errr...quirks of the early versions by having a massive ecosystem of alternative implementations. Some of these (like Joda-Time) are good enough to get widely accepted as the 'correct' implementation. I don't think anyone will argue when you say that that throws up some barriers to entry, but they're not massive barriers, the standard library does still work. Not having to rewrite your code every six months is much more important.

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