Since the dawn of time (or so it seems), Oracle followed a standard incremental release naming system consisting of 5-digit numbering system examples like. 10.2.0.3.1, 11.2.0.4.3 etc. Along the way it also added an alphabet to signify the key features (or some say popular trends) such as 8i and 9i for “internet capabilities” 10g and 11g for “grid infrastructure” 12c for “cloud”, etc.

 

A five-digit naming convention consisted of Major and minor (also called maintenance) release number, followed by application server release number, database patch set release number and finally database platform patch set release number.

 

In addition to this every quarter (Jan, April, July, October) Oracle released a set of bundled patches called PSU, CPU and BP (depending on the OS, content and functionality included) for fixing bugs, critical security flaws, etc. Occasionally they also released one off patches to fix critical or show stopper bugs.

 

This all changed in 2017 with the new Release naming convention created by Oracle. From now on, Oracle decided to come out with new feature release EVERY YEAR, naming it after the calendar year. The first of the release with the new naming convention is Oracle 18 (due to come out sometime this year in summer for On-Premise), followed by Oracle 19 (next year) and so on. They all hold new features, but since the release cycle is shorter, the number of new features seen every year will be more manageable.

 

The last version to come out with old release convention is 12.2.0.1. It is said that 12.2.0.2 is rebranded as Oracle 18 and 12.2.0.3 will be rebranded as Oracle 19. It is also rumored that Oracle 19 will be the last (long term support) release of Oracle 12.2

 

The quarterly patches containing bug fixes, security related fixes, etc. will still be released, but Oracle18 onward, will be called RU (release update). In addition to RU, RUR (release update revisions) are being issued on the same quarterly basis to augment the Release Updates (RU) with fixes for known regressions and to include the latest security vulnerability fixes as well. Up to 2 RURs can be released for a given RU.

 

Hope this helps and gives you an insight of Oracle Release naming convention moving forward.