Monday, 15 November 2010 11:07

OpenJDK camp widening to include Mac OS X


When Apple revealed that it would cease the development of Java for Mac OS X, people began to wonder what future the platform would have on the Mac. Now we know.

Oracle and Apple have announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X. OpenJDK is an open source implementation of Java.

While Apple will continue to provide its existing Java SE 6 for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and the forthcoming 10.7 Lion, future versions will be available from Oracle.

"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," he added.

One of the complaints about Apple's implementation of Java has been the way it lags behind others, particularly in terms of the delivery of security updates. That was practically inevitable, as development for Mac OS was not carried out in parallel with other implementations, and Apple's implementation was more customised than most.

Oracle's Henrik Ståhl warned that the first release of JDK 7 for Mac OS X will follow that for other platforms. "The JDK 7 schedule can not easily accomodate large changes like the addition of a new platform," he noted.


Hasan Rizvi, Oracle's senior vice president of development said "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."

However, Mr Ståhl pointed out that it was "too early to say" how much later the Mac version of JDK 7 will arrive, and at what stage the Mac version will be released simultaneously with other platforms.

Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for the Java SE 7 implementation.

Java creator James Gosling (who left Sun shortly after its acquisition by Oracle) described the development as "incredibly encouraging".


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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