Do you mean being able to run your Java programs on older versions, like 11? Depends somewhat on how much influence you have on the run-time environments. If it is up to remote customers, they'd never want to upgrade. It would seem reasonable to me to expect an environment to have whatever was the latest LTS version, which is 11 now and will be 17 in September.
Should backwards compatibility be more important?
the software will often be used in a shared hosting environment where Java 8 is frequently the newest platform available
Stephan van Hulst wrote:With the start of Java 9, they release a new version of the language every six months. As Carey pointed out, most of those are small updates that don't have long term support. If you don't want to use non-LTS versions, that's fine. In fact, I would strongly recommend against requiring non-LTS versions in your project if it's meant for redistribution. Think of non-LTS versions as open betas where developers have the chance to play with the new features before they're released "for real".