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.

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22 thoughts on “Java 6 on Mac OS X may Require Leopard

  1. I wonder if the Apple/Java vacuum has to do with the fact that Java is now GPL’d. I seem to remember that one of the reasons that Apple chose BSD over Linux for OS X was due to the way GPL’d software is licensed. Think about it… Apple has done A LOT of work to integrate Java into just about every aspect of OS X. Probably, under the GPL, they’d have to cough up a lot of their proprietary integration source code. I think that this is also why there is no official QuickTime Player for Linux. If Apple were to come out and announce that they won’t support Java on OS X because of the GPL, it would probably cause much worse press than the present situation (which also sucks, btw).

    I’ve been an Java developer for quite a while and an Apple user for almost as long. I can understand that Apple would rather have desktop apps written in Objective C than in Java – especially with all the security implications of JVM’s these days – Apple even locked down Quicktime for Java in QT 7.3. However, Apple has a lot invested in Java-based technologies. Especially in their pursuit of the server market. OS X Server ships with JBoss & Tomcat – even WebObjects, Apple’s own app server was converted to Java.

    At the last WWDC, while there was certainly an air of frustration among Java developers, I left with a positive outlook on the future of Java on the Mac… Maybe I was just in the “reality distortion field” too long…

    Since OS X, Apple has been a big supporter of Open Source software – but NOT Free (GPL’d) software. My feeling is that before we see any future versions of Java for OS X (or on the iPhone), Apple will have to figure out how their proprietary technologies such as Aqua, QuickTime, etc. will be able to legally integrate with GPL’d Java. Either that, or Apple will cease in-house Java development entirely and give it back o the community – relegating it to unsupported third party add-on status.

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  2. I wonder if the Apple/Java vacuum has to do with the fact that Java is now GPL’d. I seem to remember that one of the reasons that Apple chose BSD over Linux for OS X was due to the way GPL’d software is licensed. Think about it… Apple has done A LOT of work to integrate Java into just about every aspect of OS X. Probably, under the GPL, they’d have to cough up a lot of their proprietary integration source code. I think that this is also why there is no official QuickTime Player for Linux. If Apple were to come out and announce that they won’t support Java on OS X because of the GPL, it would probably cause much worse press than the present situation (which also sucks, btw).

    I’ve been an Java developer for quite a while and an Apple user for almost as long. I can understand that Apple would rather have desktop apps written in Objective C than in Java – especially with all the security implications of JVM’s these days – Apple even locked down Quicktime for Java in QT 7.3. However, Apple has a lot invested in Java-based technologies. Especially in their pursuit of the server market. OS X Server ships with JBoss & Tomcat – even WebObjects, Apple’s own app server was converted to Java.

    At the last WWDC, while there was certainly an air of frustration among Java developers, I left with a positive outlook on the future of Java on the Mac… Maybe I was just in the “reality distortion field” too long…

    Since OS X, Apple has been a big supporter of Open Source software – but NOT Free (GPL’d) software. My feeling is that before we see any future versions of Java for OS X (or on the iPhone), Apple will have to figure out how their proprietary technologies such as Aqua, QuickTime, etc. will be able to legally integrate with GPL’d Java. Either that, or Apple will cease in-house Java development entirely and give it back o the community – relegating it to unsupported third party add-on status.

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  3. Bruce – that is a rather harsh statement without any real value in it? What are you trying to point out that Apple has done wrong with Microsoft Office?

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  4. Bruce – that is a rather harsh statement without any real value in it? What are you trying to point out that Apple has done wrong with Microsoft Office?

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  5. Apple’s lack of support for J6 for so long and their failure to deal with the real needs of their users to have microsoft office run at even reasonable performance is beyond disappointing. it shows where they are headed. period

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  6. Apple’s lack of support for J6 for so long and their failure to deal with the real needs of their users to have microsoft office run at even reasonable performance is beyond disappointing. it shows where they are headed. period

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  7. Java 6 is not included in Leopard, nor is the beta still available for download. I just installed Leopard and the Dev Tools, no dice.

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  8. Java 6 is not included in Leopard, nor is the beta still available for download. I just installed Leopard and the Dev Tools, no dice.

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  9. Pingback: Toby’s Epril :: Entries :: 맥에서 자바개발은 포기해야 하나

  10. Pingback: GameDevMike » Blog Archive » Which Java Version to Target for Mac?

  11. JDK 1.6.0_b88 was released 8/15/2006, Apple’s Java SE 6.0 Release 1 Developer Preview 6 was released a month latter on 9/13/2006. At that point in time, Apple was keeping the pace. It’s now 4 months later and the Java 6 Community has seen 2 betas and one RC while Apple has remained quiet. Apple’s current pace isn’t quite as fast as the Java 6 Community. However, that’s not to say that Apple doesn’t have an up-to-date version of Java 6 that is currently in the Leopard Developer Releases.

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  12. JDK 1.6.0_b88 was released 8/15/2006, Apple’s Java SE 6.0 Release 1 Developer Preview 6 was released a month latter on 9/13/2006. At that point in time, Apple was keeping the pace. It’s now 4 months later and the Java 6 Community has seen 2 betas and one RC while Apple has remained quiet. Apple’s current pace isn’t quite as fast as the Java 6 Community. However, that’s not to say that Apple doesn’t have an up-to-date version of Java 6 that is currently in the Leopard Developer Releases.

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  13. JDK 1.6.0_b88 very old? This release is only a month or three old, which is totally fine. A lot of companies haven’t even switched to Java 5 yet, give Apple a break. I think they’re following the pace of JDK 1.6 extremely quickly.

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  14. JDK 1.6.0_b88 very old? This release is only a month or three old, which is totally fine. A lot of companies haven’t even switched to Java 5 yet, give Apple a break. I think they’re following the pace of JDK 1.6 extremely quickly.

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  15. If Apple’s Swing implementation and/or the Mac LAF changes radically, this could negatively affect all of the existing Swing apps that people use on OS X. As far as the Leopard UI rumors go, my guess is that Leopard will have more of the unified Aqua/iTunes 7.0 look, but then will throw in some of this ‘black gloss’ flavor in areas where Core Animation is being leveraged (i.e. more stuff like CoverFlow and Time Machine).

    I think you’re right about Java 6 being Leopard-only. Imagine having to support Intel and PowerPc versions of Java 1.3 up to Java 6 on both Tiger and Leopard…

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  16. If Apple’s Swing implementation and/or the Mac LAF changes radically, this could negatively affect all of the existing Swing apps that people use on OS X. As far as the Leopard UI rumors go, my guess is that Leopard will have more of the unified Aqua/iTunes 7.0 look, but then will throw in some of this ‘black gloss’ flavor in areas where Core Animation is being leveraged (i.e. more stuff like CoverFlow and Time Machine).

    I think you’re right about Java 6 being Leopard-only. Imagine having to support Intel and PowerPc versions of Java 1.3 up to Java 6 on both Tiger and Leopard…

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