Java 6 on Mac OS X may Require Leopard

I was very happy to see that Sun released a final version of Java 6 yesterday. But what I find very disappointing was that Apple has not updated a Java 6 version for Mac OS X still remains only a developer preview which is based on JDK 1.6.0_b88. If you’ve been following Java 6, you know this a very old release.

I’m starting to believe these rumors that Apple will introduce a refreshed UI in Mac OS X (10.5) Leopard. Because of this, Apple has not put out another developer release of Java 6 that will run on Tiger (10.4). With a new UI, Apple may have had to make some major changes to its Swing implementation and may not be backwards compatible with 10.4.

This would be similar to what Apple did with Tiger; you could only get Java 5 if you upgraded to Tiger (even though there were reports that early releases of Java 5 could run just fine on 10.3). I’m betting that in order to get Java 6 on your Mac, you’re going to need to upgrade to Leopard. Now I don’t know for certain, but it would be a compelling reason for any Java developer using a Mac to upgrade to 10.5. For me, Java 5 support was enough to get me to upgrade to Tiger (10.4). Guess we’ll all know more in a month.