Ben Evans (@kittylyst) and Martijn Verburg (@karianna) have teamed up to write "The Well-Grounded Java Developer" (Covers Java 7 and Polyglot programming on the JVM). You can find their joint account on twitter (@java7developer). Ben has been a professional developer and Open Source enthusiast since the late 90s. He has delivered world-class projects for banks, media companies and charities in that time, and currently works as an architect, lead developer and in-house Java expert at one of the world’s leading financial institutions. Martijn Verburg is a Java/JEE and open source consultant who is passionate about software craftsmanship and the creative power of technical communities. He currently is the co-leader for the London JUG, runs two open source projects (PCGen and Ikasan EIP) and is a bartender at the Javaranch. Martijn & Ben has posted 6 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Official Java 7 for Mac OS X – Status

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Hopefully, by now, everyone knows that Apple joined the OpenJDK project last year. What does that mean?

  • Apple will contribute the code that they used for their private Mac Java builds as GPL code to OpenJDK
  • Oracle will take over the stewardship of the Mac port of Java
  • Over time, the Mac platform will become a completely first-class citizen in the Java world

This is good news for Java developers who want to develop on Mac. It’s also good news for Mac users – as it means that, for example, the native Aqua look-and-feel will continue to be supported – so Java desktop apps on Mac will look lovely. I, for one, can’t wait to see what Nimbus look-and-feel will look like under native Aqua.

Over the last few days, there have been some developments – for example this wiki page, detailing the progress of the Mac port, has appeared. Buried at the bottom of the page is a link to a page where the open bugs for the Mac port are being publicly tracked (as they’re ported across from Apple’s internal system).

Development is focused around JDK 7 – the basic idea is to take a fork of the community-maintained BSD port, and add Apple’s code to it, to produce a Mac-specific port. Relevant bug fixes should be able to go both ways between the two related ports, where possible.

All of this is likely to take time, however. The official line from Oracle is that JDK 7 will GA with Windows, Linux and Solaris as first-class supported operating systems, and the Mac will release as soon as possible after, with the hope that at some point in the future updates for the Mac version will be released at the same time as other OSes.

This applies to the Oracle-supplied binary builds. Of course, the OpenJDK code (which Oracle regard as the reference implementation) will be available (and GPL) for anyone who wants to build their own binary.

Here at, we think that we could be looking at roughly a 3 month gap between Java 7 GA and a Mac release – so maybe October 2011 if all goes well. For now, we’re pretty happy running the community-provided OpenJDK builds. There are occasional problems with non-fatal X11-related exceptions clogging up standard out – due to some of the Mac’s uniqueness, but on the whole, it’s not bad at all for a pre-release product.

Have you tried any of the community builds? Let us know what you think in the comments.



Published at DZone with permission of its author, Martijn & Ben Verburg & Evans.

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



Andras Hatvani replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 1:48am

Running OpenJDK 7 / JDK 7 on Snow Leopard is in my opinion not the only crucial topic, since Lion will be released this summer. Therefore the compatibility of OpenJDK 7 / JDK 7 with Lion should be aimed and verified as well.
As I'm no registered Mac developer I haven't had the chance to try out the developer preview of Lion. But anyone who is can download "Java for Mac OS X 10.7" which contains "Java SE 6 runtime and web components for Mac OS X 10.7". This is definitely more than what I expected, because originally it was told that Lion will ship without Java and that Apple won't maintain any releases for OS X 10.7.

Martijn Verburg replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 4:59am in response to: Andras Hatvani

Hi Andras, You're quite right! I should have added that to our post as being another reason for the delay. Indeed Oracle have taken over from Apple and will maintain releases going forwards. Understandably there is a delay for Java 7 as Oracle gets up to speed and perhaps hires a few Mac domain experts. Thanks for the extra info!

Loren Kratzke replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 1:37pm

OpenJDK7 being the reference implementation? At they say it will be the basis for Oracle JDK7 but no mention of being the reference implementation. In fact, in the FAQ the question asking if the TCK will be available for OpenJDK answers with a link to apply for the TCK.

All I know is that our code will not run today on the OpenJDK6 so we use the official Snoracle Linux distro for JDK6. It would be nice to know if/when OpenJDKn will be a first class Java SE drop in replacement. We would use it for sure.

Privacy Lawsuit replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 2:15pm

I, for one, can’t wait to see what Nimbus look-and-feel will look like under native Aqua.
Isn't it (the Nimbus LAF) already available under Java SE 6 on Snow Leopard? I seem to recall seeing it run in OS X already (perhaps back when I was using Netbeans... I seem to remember having to tweak the LAF settings on OS X.) Or, is there some new special Nimbus/OS X implementation planned for Java 7? (Even then, would it be significantly different from what's already available?)

Martijn Verburg replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 5:34pm in response to: Loren Kratzke

I'll firstly state that I'm not an Oracle employee and I can't claim to divine their intentions but I believe that there is a plan to continue to try and get the OpenJDK to 100% open as possible. I think it will be a positive thing if we, the community, can work with Oracle both through dialogue and actual code patches to achieve that!

So with that in mind, what part of your code doesn't work? Please do register it as a bug so that it may be fixed! On my project we tend to find there's a bunch of Swing bugs, all in the fixable realm methinks :)

TCK Side track stuff

The TCK issue is interesting. I was chatting to Henrik Stahl (Java product manager) at the Scandinavian Developers Conference (we were on a fun panel discussing whether the community or the corporations would lead Java in the future, but I digress). You can fork the OpenJDK and apply for a TCK for that fork (which, if you pass, enables you to call it Java). The price of that TCK depends on what your fork is doing.

My understanding was that if your fork is also GPL licensed then you'll get the TCK for free, otherwise you'll need to pay Oracle a license fee which gets more expensive depending on the field of use of your fork (and this is what the whole Apache Harmony debate was partly about).

Martijn Verburg replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 5:35pm in response to: Privacy Lawsuit

I think it'll be on by default and I believe that it's had some enhancements yes :).

Jay Huang replied on Thu, 2011/04/07 - 10:01pm

"Over time, the Mac platform will become a completely first-class citizen in the Java world"


I surely wish that someday it'll be true the other way around.  Java wll become first-class citizen on Mac platform and will be allowed in Mac Store.

Jessie Mear replied on Wed, 2011/09/07 - 6:47am

This initial integration takes time and we can’t yet give you a specific date on the completion. java programmers

Shoaib Almas replied on Sat, 2012/08/25 - 5:57am

Ι have been experimenting with the weekly OpenJDK 7and it works fine on basic stuff.Nice way on testing new things. I have many problems making eclipse work with this particular built /jvm but it is not a priority for now! There are know X11. GUI problems anyway!

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