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I've been doing general ANSI C/Console C++/Java/Web development on Mac hardware for about ten years. I make no claims of objective superiority over other platforms, it just satisfies my personal tastes. With the success of the iPhone and the related App store there was some speculation that Apple would get out of the general purpose computer market, and become a closed software ecosystem, focusing on consumer appliances. I pooh-poohed the speculation at the time, but this week Apple announced that a) they were opening an App store for the Mac, b) Java applications would not be eligible for the App store, c) the Apple JVM was being deprecated and might not be available for future releases of OS X.

I'm not a Java developer per se, but I work in a research lab that occasionally writes Java applications, and also depends on tools written Java. This has the potential to be a huge pain in the butt for us. As of now, there is no other JVM for OS X that we can point our end users to. Soy Latte and OpenJDK might be appropriate for developers, but the complexity of the installation makes them inappropriate for end users.

Eventually I expect Oracle/SUN will produce a replacement JVM for OS X. More worrisome to me is that Apple used to specifically advertise that it was an excellent platform for scientific development, because they supported all major language platforms. Is the deprecation of their JVM a sign that this market no longer interests them?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Bart van Ingen Schenau, GlenH7, gnat, Dan Pichelman, mattnz Jun 27 '14 at 4:36

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

For now Java is still available on 10.5 and 10.6 by default. There is still time to figure out what will happen before 10.7 ships. –  user1249 Oct 24 '10 at 9:29
I think it's highly likely that someone is going to pick up the slack here and make OpenJDK easier to install on Mac OS. Until now, there probably hasn't been the need... –  Dean Harding Oct 24 '10 at 12:32
I understand your sentiment, but Java's promise of write-once-run-anywhere was Sun's promise. IMO, Oracle is in charge to make sure this statement is still true. –  LennyProgrammers Mar 9 '11 at 12:36
You need to ask Apple, there would be the one who know. –  mattnz Jun 27 '14 at 4:36

3 Answers 3

Apple used to specifically advertise that it was an excellent platform for scientific development, because they supported all major language platforms.

Compared to Apple's current main business - mp3 players, cell phones and associated toy apps - the potential extra income from offering a scientific development platform is negligible. Money talks.

However, I believe that someone will create an easy-to-install, de facto OpenJDK distribution for OSX any time soon. Coming up with an installer should not be a big deal; the important thing is that OpenJDK can be compiled and works with OSX almost out of the box (so far; thanks to Apple's closed philosophy, no one besides them can give any guarantees on how long it will work).

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Apple was never in that business. The java community used the JDK apple supplied for cocoa-java and WebObjects development.

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I have to disagree. The Cocoa-java link has already been deprecated for some time. But Apple has continued to actively market itself to the scientific and research community, touting its superiority as a general development platform, including its support for Java. See the "Apple in Science" section of the Apple web site. Ironically it contains a two page profile of James Gosling extolling Apple's superiority as a platform for Java development. –  Charles E. Grant Oct 24 '10 at 16:28
@Charles: similarly, Microsoft marketed Windows Vista as a great choice for home computing. Doesn't make it true. –  user4051 Oct 24 '10 at 17:53
the difference being that I've been using OS X as a general development platform for 10 years, and it has been great (at least to my taste). My questions is is this changing. –  Charles E. Grant Oct 24 '10 at 18:54
@Charles: no. Java is becoming an "optional technology" on the platform, as it has been on Windows for the last few years and Linux distributions forever. –  user4051 Oct 25 '10 at 7:43

My understanding is that Apple has found a better, faster construct for the JVM & has been working on integration. This is why the old JVM is getting deprecated. I'd look for it in the release of Lion maybe? Hopefully? They've stated this publicly and even what one they're implementing but exactly "how" they're accomplishing this is beyond or outside of anyone's control or awareness, unless of course your drivers license says Cupertino and you have a really nice paycheck.

My advice? Pay (closer) attention to the news that comes out re and from Apple itself. It'll probably be hard to miss like in a podcast, press event or something. The Cocoa-Java link was probably deprecated because of the amount of interpreters involved in the two languages. The fewer the better, faster your code will be.

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