Oracle has released its updated list of proposed or targeted Java 9 enhancements. In addition to previously confirmed Java modularity updates, the most recent list includes a common logging system for all JVM components (JEP 158), more HotSpot JIT compiler controls (JEP 158), and refinements to improve the efficiency of garbage collection (JEP 214), and repair issues introduced by Project Coin language updates in JDK 7 (JEP 213).
Even with delays, Oracle has been steadily moving forward with its plans to modularize the JDK. But the scope of Java modularity took a step up in September, when Oracle announced four new JEPs, including JEP 220: Modular Run-Time Images. Ben Evans, writing for InfoQ, noted that swapping JARs for modules is the "point of no return for modularity," with serious implications for IDEs, toolmakers, and many Java application frameworks:
After this point, The Java runtime system will no longer be contained in jar files, and instead will be composed of modules. Files such as rt.jar and tools.jar will be a thing of the past. The new system will consist solely of modules, although the platform will continue to accept and run applications and libraries packaged as jar files. The intention is that over time, application developers wil migrate to the new modular formats as well.
See "Oracle Commit to Java Modularity" for more from Ben Evans on modularity updates in Java 9. Also see Takipi Blog: "Java 9 – The Ultimate Feature List" for a comprehensive (as of November 20, 2014) description of new features accepted or proposed for the next major release of Java.