Dr. Axel Rauschmayer is a freelance software engineer, blogger and educator, located in Munich, Germany. Axel is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 246 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Java on Mac OS X Lion: the redux

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Update 2011-02-26: OpenJDK: Mac OS X Port Project

Update 2010-11-12:Oracle and Apple Announce OpenJDK Project for Mac OS X”. This is how it should have been done all along, before announcing the deprecation. Then either Apple didn’t think this through or it used it as a negotiation tactic.

Apple is currently warning developers that Java might not be bundled with Mac OS X Lion. Jobs later clarified:
Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms. They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it.
  • Apple obviously and understandably does not want to handle Java, any more. In the past, it has been slow to support the newest version, so this change could be for the better.
  • Having Java on the Mac is important, because many developers need it. Those developers mainly work on server-side applications, so their work is not directly relevant for Apple. But they are still an influential group whose support Apple won’t want to lose. Java is also crucial for education. I don’t know of any software-related degree where Java or the JVM is not needed at some point.
  • Oracle is very profit-driven and server-oriented, so I’m not sure if they see a business case for Java on Mac OS X.
  • There is an open source Java for the Mac, but it runs under X-Windows, thus Swing is not well integrated (but: Eclipse and SWT run on it, too). There is a petition for Apple to hand over its custom code to the open source community. I think, we’d only need a part of it. While the Swing Aqua look and feel was nice, Nimbus (which appeared in Java SE 6u10) is good enough for me. Mimicking Apple’s GUI will always be a moving target, anyway. Maybe Apple thought about the difficulties of implementing the new look of Mac OS X Lion in Swing and considered it too expensive.
  • The main problem is that neither Apple nor Oracle have really communicated what all of this means. They should have consulted before Apple dropped this kind of a bomb. Now people are free to speculate and some blame Apple, others blame Oracle.


From http://www.2ality.com/2010/10/java-on-mac-os-x-lion-redux.html

Published at DZone with permission of Axel Rauschmayer, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Fabrizio Giudici replied on Tue, 2010/10/26 - 5:38am

Honestly, I'm not blaming much Apple for dropping Java. Mostly because this was completely expected, and I'm suprised that people got surprised about it. Furthermore, it's the announce of a deprecation and there's plenty of time for changing plans and / or business. For me, I've already spent my part of blame about Apple and Java in the past and the news don't add anything to it.

In this circumstance, I'd blame more Oracle for the communication - I mean, I assume they weren't advised in anticipation and they need some time to make a decision; fine. Then, I expect a communication from them (it could take some time, let's say a couple of weeks). That can be even negative (we won't support Java on Apple), for me it's fine, it would mean Apple is not part of their business, but they *have* to say something in coherence with the strong Java stewardship role they are assuming.

I would not personally scream for using Nimbus on Mac OS X, but it's clear that this approach would work only with engineers. End-users of the Mac platform want a coeherent user experience (there's a lot of "purity-oriented" people around that think that anything that is not pixel-perfect is not enough, and this is of course a gross-exaggeration; the true stays in the middle).



Axel Rauschmayer replied on Tue, 2010/10/26 - 6:23pm in response to: Fabrizio Giudici

Yes, people who don’t communicate their intentions sometimes think that its better to give no news than bad news. But I also like the certainty of bad news. The non-native GUI criticism is often used by Eclipse proponents against NetBeans, but I’m not so sure. I think the web and its apps has already weakened the high standards and even Apple’s own apps have widely different looks.

Michael Urban replied on Tue, 2010/10/26 - 12:16pm

I personally don't think this is going to change anything at all for Java, other than a few Java developers who are hard core Mac users are going to have to finally do what I said they should do in an article I wrote three years ago here on Javalobby about Apple not taking Java seriously. They are finally going to have to realize that Apple does not care about them as a customer, that they are not Apple's target demographic, and they are going to have to switch to a different platform.

There really is no business case for Java on OS X anymore. Almost no home users run Java desktop applications or applets anymore, so that rules out Java being required on OS X for desktop use.

Server side applications? Apple isn't a relevant player here, largely because they missed the boat on server virtualization (as well as the high cost of Xserves). Almost no one serves Java applications off of OS X. So no business case here either for maintaining Java on OS X.

Sure, internally developed Java desktop applications are popular in business. But once again, the business desktop is a market Apple has largely failed to gain very much mindshare in. (Their "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads didn't help here either. Since they pretty much cemented the image of PCs being for business and work, and Macs being toys for playtime). So there's not really a business case here either for maintaining OS X.

What's left? Developers? They simply aren't Apple's target market. None of Apple's marketing is geared towards power users. Some of their television ads even scoff at them. Remember the commercial where PC gets Mac a book on C++ programming as a gift? And Mac is like "Yeah... right... Ok...". Seems obvious Apple isn't interested in developers.

So really, that leaves no valid business case for Java being maintained on OS X anymore. But as I said, it's also not likely to change the situation for Java, nor for the computing world in general. The only ones who are going to notice, are a few hardcore Mac users who are also Java developers, but don't want to switch platforms to do their Java development work.

Tony Lewis replied on Tue, 2011/05/17 - 3:56pm

Have you not seen this article where Apple declares future support for Java on OS X Lion? The platform is a pre-release and subject to change. That's part of the statement when you download the OS. I guess people forget about that when they download yet to be released software. http://campustechnology.com/articles/2010/11/12/javas-future-assured-on-mac-os-x-as-apple-backs-openjdk.aspx

Axel Rauschmayer replied on Wed, 2011/05/18 - 4:50pm in response to: Tony Lewis

Thanks for pointing out that this post wasn’t as current as the original. I’ve updated it.

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