Having developed on Java myself in the past, I was pretty horrified to see that with Apple’s latest Java update came a description that warned users of its impending demise. Java has always been a cross-platform environment, with the capability to execute code on any operating system you turn to, be it Windows, Linux or Mac OS X.
If Java was about to go the way of Adobe on OS X, then it spelt trouble for Mac users who not only used, but also developed on the platform; needless to say there was quite a few people getting worried about the situation.
This leads us to today’s news, which consists of somewhat of a u-turn from the folks up at Cupertino, as they have announced plans to work with Oracle on the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X. This follows an announcement last month that IBM were joining the project, so don’t worry! Java is dying just yet!
“We are excited to welcome Apple as a significant contributor in the growing OpenJDK community,” said Hasan Rizvi, Oracle’s senior vice president of Development. “The availability of Java on Mac OS X plays a key role in the cross-platform promise of the Java platform. The Java developer community can rest assured that the leading edge Java environment will continue to be available on Mac OS X in the future. Combined with last month’s announcement of IBM joining the OpenJDK, the project now has the backing of three of the biggest names in software.”
“We’re delighted to be working with Oracle to insure that there continues to be a great version of Java on the Mac,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “The best way for our users to always have the most up to date and secure version of Java will be to get it directly from Oracle.”
What does this mean for the end user? Well, for now, Apple users can continue to get Java updates from Apple themselves, as the company will be pushing updates for Java SE 6 on not only Snow Leopard, but also the upcoming Mac OS X Lion as well.
Future version of Java, from Java SE 7, will be supported through Oracle themselves as opposed to Apple as it currently is with the present version. As Oracle will be handling the updates, it will ensure continued support for many future versions of Java, and the latest releases of Mac OS X beyond Lion.
In my opinion, this is the way Java support on the Mac always should have been. With Oracle handling the updates of their software for Mac OS X as well as Windows and Linux, it means that Mac users will always know that they have the latest security updates and bug fixes installed themselves, without having to rely on Apple’s distribution of the update when they push it to users via Software Update.
By making Java technology available to open source developers, a vast community will be working on improving the project, which can only be a good thing for such a widely used programming platform such as Java.
Source: Apple PR