Goodbye Apple Java – Hello OpenJDK

In October 2010, Apple deprecated Java. Java 10.6.3 will be the last Apple release of the SDK. This constitutes Apple’s final enforcement of their ‘Thou shalt use Cocoa’ dictum, meaning:

Jobs is forcing official Apple developers to develop in Objective-C, as well as Python and Ruby for which bridges to the Cocoa libraries still seem to be supported.

Java applications cannot be sold through the newly announced Apple OS X appstore.

These decisions will have greatest impact on cross platform developers who will be need to find other sources for a Mac OS X JVM. Oracle/Sun (Snorcle) is the likely suspect, possibly with Apple assistance, but only if there is a buck in it for Snorcle. Otherwise an open source solution will have to surface. Hopefully, the Xdev world will get behind a single solution.

Apple is bailing on the server side of the business, and will likely continue to run its basic corporate Java web applications (e.g. MobileMe, iTunes store, app store) on non-Apple hardware in the future.

Often, when ones loses some flexibility, the loss is offset by increased clarity.

Update: Moving from speculation to firmer ground, on November 12th, a joint announcement issued from Apple/Snorcle:

“Oracle and Apple today announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X. Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client. OpenJDK will make Apple’s Java technology available to open source developers so they can access and contribute to the effort.
“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.”
Apple also confirmed that Java SE 6 will continue to be available from Apple for Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming release of Mac OS X Lion. Java SE 7 and future versions of Java for Mac OS X will be available from Oracle. […]”

James Gosling replies:

“Wow. This morning’s press release from Apple & Oracle is incredibly encouraging. Talks with Apple on this topic have gone on for many years, it’s great to see a positive move actually happen. The two questions that only time can answer are: will both parties actually deliver? and how will this work with Apple’s software update center? (That had been one of the sticking points …”


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