Java on Mac OS X: The Silence is deafening

By David Fekke
January 17th, 2011

My software update feature on my older Mac showed that I had downloaded Java release 6 for Mac OS X 10.4. I got really exited until I read the release notes;

This release of Java for Mac OS X includes improvements for Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 5.0 (J2SE 5.0) and Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition 1.4.2 (Java 1.4.2) on Mac OS X. It features Apple's implementation of Sun's J2SE Versions 1.5.0_13 and 1.4.2_16.

It looks like this is a series of security updates. Before Leopard was released Apple had a prerelease version of Java SE 6 on their developer site, which they took down earlier in the year. I had hoped that Apple would release Java SE 6 with Mac OS 10.5, but I was let down when it was released to find it only had Java SE 5.

Apple is known for its secrecy when it comes to releasing new products. I can understand that when it comes to certain products and software. The problem comes when you are trying to develop for a platform. Developers have to have SDKs, APIs and the other tools so they can start to develop for the platform before it is released.

Right now the silence coming from Cupertino is deafening. Apple should come out and say if they are going to continue to develop Java on the Mac so developers can start planning what technology they need to use in their future products.

I have liked Java because I could write applications that can run on any platform, whether it was Linux, Mac or Windows. If Apple is not going to develop Java on the Mac anymore, Sun needs to start developing future versions for the Mac like they do for Windows.

In the mean time I am going to start taking a harder look at Adobe Air and Microsoft Silverlight as alternatives.

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