Apple deprecates its release of Java for Mac OS X

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
Apple's latest release of Java SE 6 for Mac OS X marks the end of the company's efforts to maintain Java releases for the Mac platform itself.



Yesterday, the company released "Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3," which brought Apple's bundled support for Java SE 6 in Snow Leopard up to version 1.6.0_22, and "Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 8," which similarly updated Leopard.



However, the company now notes that "as of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated.



"This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products."



Jettisoning Java



Apple has also reorganized how Java runtime homes are installed on Mac OS X, apparently in an effort to facilitate third party releases of the Java virtual machine. This would enable Oracle (which recently acquired Sun) to release Java for the Mac itself, rather than waiting for Apple do maintain its own Java release for Mac users.



Apple's bundled Java Preferences app (below) enables multiple Java releases to be installed at once, from different vendors, and allows the user to prioritize which will be used.







Apple's releases of Java for the Mac have long dragged behind the official, latest builds produced by Sun. However, Sun's Java was once a critical priority for Apple as it worked to launch Mac OS X and draw interest from Java developers in bringing their code to the Mac platform.



Since the late 90s however, Java as a platform for creating desktop software has failed to take off, leaving it largely relegated to serve as a server side platform in web application servers and custom enterprise development.



As Java receded from its expected role in providing a cross platform "write once, run anywhere" environment, Apple has increasingly focused its attentions on Cocoa on the Mac desktop, and subsequently Cocoa Touch for mobile devices.



No Java on iOS



In fact, because there's so much overlap between Java and Cocoa, Apple took the rather bold step of leaving Java off the iPhone entirely upon its launch in 2007, a step that made the iOS' Cocoa Touch the only way to deliver native apps. While chief executive Steve Jobs initially said Adobe Flash was a "maybe" on the iPhone, he was clear that Java was getting a "no" from Apple on the iPhone from the start.



Putting Java on the iPhone would have doubled its system software runtimes while only encouraging existing mobile developers to bring their weak Java Micro Edition apps to the iPhone. As things worked out, Apple's focus on Cocoa Touch resulted in a unified library of hundreds of thousands of apps that don't require a separate Java runtime and all the work that would be involved in maintaining both Cocoa Touch and a port of Sun's Java ME.



In contrast, RIM's Blackberry OS and Google's Android are both Java-based platforms; RIM hosts a licensed Java Virtual Machine while Google opted to create a Java-like environment that did not license its technology from Sun. That has since resulted in a lawsuit from Oracle, which claims Google's Android software infringes on its Java-related patents acquired from Sun.



Being exclusively Cocoa Touch, Apple's iOS devices benefit from having a single development environment and runtime in that the company isn't tasked with maintaining parallel versions of code that do the same thing just to support different platforms. Apple has also focused its efforts into building something the company owns, rather than benefitting the ecosystem of the third party Java platform.



Java on the Mac



A decade ago, Apple took the lead in bringing Java to the Mac out of fear that its unique platform would grow obsolete were it to fail to hop on the Java bandwagon. Sun continued to maintain Java VM releases for other platforms, while Microsoft actually took Java and turned it into a way to write Windows applications, splintering Sun's original intent of Java.



At this point however, Apple is not desperate for the attentions of developers. Its Mac platform now has greater than 20 percent market share among US retail PC purchases, it has hundreds of thousands of developers, and its core platform is being buoyed up by a massive influx of new iPhone and iPad developers on the iOS end.



With the announcement of its Mac App Store, Apple is making it clear that, while development of various platforms can continue on the Mac, Apple's focus will be on the modern Cocoa. And more importantly, the business model supporting easy to buy apps and instant downloads will benefit Apple's own Cocoa platform exclusively.



Apple's submission guidelines specifically target Java and Rosetta (PowerPC legacy code) as being among the "deprecated or optionally installed technologies" that approved apps must avoid. While developers can continue to release Java apps for Mac, or use Macs to build server-side projects in Java, it won't play any role in creating software for the Mac App Store.



It remains to be see how important Oracle views the availability of Java on the Mac; while Apple isn't immediately yanking its support for Java on the Mac entirely, it is committing fewer resources to maintain its own Java releases, likely with the hope or assurance that Oracle will step in and support the Mac as it does other platforms, just as Adobe maintains Flash for the Mac itself, and as Microsoft maintains Silverlight for the Mac on its own.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    Uh, if Oracle doesn't release updates I will be very disappointed. I rely on Java for many daily processes, this could result in me purchasing a PC or using a virtualization application to port windows on my Macs.





    For instance, Runescape - MMORPG - The No.1 Free Online Multiplayer Game runs through java, has over five million monthly 'paying' subscribers uses Java. Lets say 20% of Runescape's users use Mac ? what will they all do when Runescape decides to stay up with the latest Java, rather continue support for old editions? Hmm... This really worries me.
  • Reply 2 of 73
    What? Steve Jobs hates a cup of Java now??



    I don't even know what this is, but can I assume that another portion of the web will be unavailable to Mac users?



    Steve Jobs has a really hard time partnering with people, doesn't he??
  • Reply 3 of 73
    If Apple convince Oracle to pick up the maintenance of Java for the Mac platform, this may not be a bad thing. Java is maintained by oracle for Windows and Linux (not by Microsoft of the linux community), so if they take on one more, we might actually get more timely releases.



    If Java goes away completely, then that could be a very bad thing. Many, many apps rely on Java, more so than many people realize. In business, webex, GoToMeeting, and similar all rely on Java. Many internal applications are developed in Java.
  • Reply 4 of 73
    Who was it said the best OS/Platform for Java would be OS X?
  • Reply 5 of 73
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member
    Relax! Apple is just turning Java support over to Oracle. Where it belongs. Just like Oracle (and Sun before them) have always done for Windows and Linux.







    More "journalism" from Daniel Eran Dilger...
  • Reply 6 of 73
    mariomario Posts: 341member
    This means no Mathematica, no Maple, no MATLAB and a lot of online games etc for Mac OS X. This also means the most popular development language (around 6 million java developers world wide) will not be available on the Mac.



    It's funny because a lot of Java developers liked using OS X (myself included) because it was nicely put together OS with java pre-installed. In a lot of Java developer conferences up to half of the participants were using Mac. All that is about to change...



    Oracle is very unlikely to bring JDK for the OS X any time soon. They are not a very agile company (they are having a hard time finalizing the specification for the next version of the language let alone implementation). So, I would not expect java for mac from them in the next 5 years if ever (it's just not an important platform for them, esp. in the server space).



    The best hope for Java on the Mac are some half baked ports of BSD JVM but it does not support the GUI very well and it only runs under X11.



    Alternatively, Apple could open source their implementation, but I don't know how likely that is (it does not sound like it at all).



    I think this is just going to alienate a lot of developers who used Mac up to this point as viable cross platform development platform, and who are about to leave Mac and OS X in droves.
  • Reply 7 of 73
    Come on Oracle....
  • Reply 8 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post


    If Apple convince Oracle to pick up the maintenance of Java for the Mac platform, this may not be a bad thing. Java is maintained by oracle for Windows and Linux (not by Microsoft of the linux community), so if they take on one more, we might actually get more timely releases.



    I believe Sun/Oracle has always developed the platform, and think that having Oracle responsible for the releases means we will finally be getting timely updates.
  • Reply 9 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blackintosh View Post


    What? Steve Jobs hates a cup of Java now??



    I don't even know what this is, but can I assume that another portion of the web will be unavailable to Mac users?



    Steve Jobs has a really hard time partnering with people, doesn't he??



    Relax he's best buddies with Lar from Oracle (who's suing google's ass btw for patent theft in android).



    Quote:

    On 18 December 2003, Ellison married Melanie Craft, a romance novelist, at his Woodside estate. His friend Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple, Inc) was the official wedding photographer



  • Reply 10 of 73
    stompystompy Posts: 310member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Relax! Apple is just turning Java support over to Oracle. Where it belongs. Just like Oracle (and Sun before them) have always done for Windows and Linux.







    More "journalism" from Daniel Eran Dilger...



    It's possible Oracle will take this on. I have seen no guarantees (outside of your post).



    I rarely agree with the tone of Dilger/Lane/Mcclean writeups, but what part of this particular story is inaccurate?
  • Reply 11 of 73
    ouraganouragan Posts: 416member
    Quote:

    It remains to be see how important Oracle views the availability of Java on the Mac; while Apple isn't immediately yanking its support for Java on the Mac entirely, it is committing fewer resources to maintain its own Java releases, likely with the hope or assurance that Oracle will step in and support the Mac as it does other platforms, just as Adobe maintains Flash for the Mac itself, and as Microsoft maintains Silverlight for the Mac on its own.





    Let's hope for the best!



    I was never a fan of Apple made Java Virtual Machine or Apple made ATI and nVidia graphic drivers because, in both instances, Apple lagged behind official releases for the Windows platform.



    Are AMD (ATI) and nVidia next?





  • Reply 12 of 73
    asciiascii Posts: 5,778member
    Good Article. Hopefully this frees up some developers to work on Cocoa.



    Cocoa is faster than Java and faster than managed .NET, in fact the whole idea of solving Run Anywhere by using a VM at the app level seems to be an idea that it fizzling out. Products like VMware which solve the problem at the hardware level are getting much wider adoption.



    I predict Java will die and C# will lose it's CLR and go back to native code, and Objective-C/Cocoa will go from strength to strength.
  • Reply 13 of 73
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    This was flagged to developers months if not years ago. The platform simply isn't important to Apple's future and isn't worth the engineers to maintain. It's up to Oracle if they want it to survive.
  • Reply 14 of 73
    I was very happy when Apple initially supported Java for the mac. After about 2006 the features provided by Apple started to lag behind Java... first by about 6 months, then a year, and with this last release it was clear Java was no longer a priority at Apple.



    I am an avid Java developer, and I am certain that Oracle or the community will pick it up. Either way, noting the strong community drive with Java SE 6 when Apple languished behind, I expect Java will be in better hands now. I would love to see Java announced as a first class citizen from Oracle, but until that announcement is made, the openJava solution is still more ideal than what we have now, especially now that Apple is changing the prefs to allow multiple VMs.



    Don't get me wrong, I love the work Apple does. I also think that Apple needs to embrace third-party technologies a bit more, and Java is a great way to develop that trust! I agree with how terrible flash is, and I hope Apple is right and that Flash as we know it now goes away. The same goes for Apple's management of Java. I think Apple managing Java long term was at best not in the best interest of the community, and I look forward to a brighter future of Java on the mac.
  • Reply 15 of 73
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,506member
    That plan being Oracle/Sun taking over the port.



    By the way I have no love at all for Java and have never written a line of code in the language. Java apps however are another thing altogether, there are a couple I use a lot. In the end I'd have to think an Oracle supported Java would actually be a better choice.



    What is sad is if there is a plan it isn't very well laid out. Thus the anger in the community. Seems like Apple is slipping. Of course there is also the possibility that Oracle made the licensing difficult.



    Dave
  • Reply 16 of 73
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,463member
    .... "just as Adobe maintains Flash for the Mac itself" This was a joke I assume?
  • Reply 17 of 73
    Minecraft uses Java, I will be so sad if I am no longer able to play that excellent game. I just hope that Oracle steps in soon enough.
  • Reply 18 of 73
    stompystompy Posts: 310member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    ...In the end I'd have to think an Oracle supported Java would actually be a better choice.



    Yep



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    What is sad is if there is a plan it isn't very well laid out. Thus the anger in the community. Seems like Apple is slipping. Of course there is also the possibility that Oracle made the licensing difficult.



    True on all points. From an outsider's perspective, Apple seems to be saying, "whatever happens, happens. We're fine with that."
  • Reply 19 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Good Article. Hopefully this frees up some developers to work on Cocoa.



    Cocoa is faster than Java and faster than managed .NET, in fact the whole idea of solving Run Anywhere by using a VM at the app level seems to be an idea that it fizzling out. Products like VMware which solve the problem at the hardware level are getting much wider adoption.



    I predict Java will die and C# will lose it's CLR and go back to native code, and Objective-C/Cocoa will go from strength to strength.



    not going to happen.
  • Reply 20 of 73
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Relax! Apple is just turning Java support over to Oracle. Where it belongs. Just like Oracle (and Sun before them) have always done for Windows and Linux.







    More "journalism" from Daniel Eran Dilger...



    Speaking of journalism, can you cite your sources on Oracle committing to support Java on the Mac?
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