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XNAT 1.8.2 is built to run on Apache Tomcat 9 by default, in response to the announced end of life of Tomcat 7 and the lack of a stable Tomcat 8 deployment supporting Java 8 for Debian Linux servers. XNAT 1.8.2 can be easily configured for backwards compatibility with Tomcat 7. See Running XNAT on Tomcat 7.
XNAT 1.8.2 is primarily a maintenance and bugfix release, with the exception of the Tomcat system configuration change listed above. There are no breaking changes in this release that will affect plugin development.
Previous versions of XNAT shipped with a default configuration supporting Apache Tomcat 7, with the ability to support Tomcat 8 included but commented out. In initial testing, XNAT appeared to run successfully on Tomcat 8, but modification of the XNAT Vagrant project revealed that there was a lack of a stable Tomcat 8 box supporting Linux Debian systems. This proved unresolvable without jumping ahead to Tomcat 9.