Apple deprecates Java

Apple has deprecated the version of Java that it ports and maintains for OS X:

As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated.

This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products.

This is not altogether a bad thing for Java. Waiting for Apple to update its official version has been a frustration for Java developers on the Mac. If Oracle now takes responsibility for delivering the JVM for OS X, it may keep in step.

Unfortunately there is not currently an Oracle JVM for OS X. Nor does the open source Apache Harmony support it. In the light of Apple’s announcement I imagine both may address this lack; though a further complication is that IBM has recently abandoned Harmony in favour of the Open JDK.

Further, in making this statement Apple is further discouraging use of Java application on OS X. This announcement should be put together with this one, in the new developer agreement for apps submitted to the forthcoming Mac App Store, a desktop version of the iOS App Store:

3.3.1    Applications may only use public APIs and frameworks included in the default installation of Mac OS X or as bundled with Xcode as provided by Apple, deprecated technologies (such as Java) may not be used.

I doubt Apple will ever attempt to lock down desktop OS X, iPad-style. But I think we will see strong encouragement from Apple steering users towards App Store installs. There will be hints that it is safer and better, the true Mac way to get apps onto your machine.

Remember the early days of Java? One of the reasons it won support was that it reduced the industry’s dependence on a single vendor and its operating system.

Plenty to think about as Apple increases its market share.

[Updated to clarify non-availability of alternative JVMs for OS X]

7 thoughts on “Apple deprecates Java”

  1. “Remember the early days of Java? One of the reasons it won support was that it reduced the industry’s dependence on a single vendor and its operating system.”

    And the main reason it lost support is because Java made it hard to integrate with a single vender and its operating s system… this is why I think Mono has a better future in the long run than Java… though it will be interesting to see what JavaFX 2.0 brings to the table…

  2. Apple is returning to the old world of Microsoft, True most enduser that use there machines to send email and text will not care but the Enterprise does. This is foolish, I am very disappointed with a company with so much innovation attempt to take the computer world backward with more walled gardens. It will not hurt Java just Apple. This also mean that Jobs takes on Ellison.

  3. It’s a shame. Someone has to do something to stop this Apple arrogance. Locking people to their store is even worse than closed source or integrating the Web browser into the operating system. I depend on Java for my job, I’ll go back to Linux if Apple is serious with this.

  4. Mainly because of the Java updater nagware I’ve not put Java on my last couple of PCs at all; I can’t say I’ve missed it… I’m sure the enterprise story is different though; will that be a business issue for Mac in the future?

  5. @Marco: And even with it’s arrogance, Apple’s market share is getting bigger and bigger. What makes me think: Is freedom what users want or simplicity and security even with a Big Brother telling you what you can consume and what you can’t? This is the big question.

  6. Mary Branscombe, the average user doesn’t use Java much, if at all, however, it’s a completely different story when it comes to developers. Development for Android apps, Blackberry apps, Flash, PHP and of course Java, are mainly IDEs made with Java, generally using the Eclipse platform. There’s even a number of HTML/JS/CSS editors that are made using Eclipse and Java. If Oracle doesn’t come in and fill the void and build a Mac JVM, I imagine Apple could lose a few million developers, who have to leave the Mac OS in order to continue doing their jobs.

    Perhaps Apple thinks Oracle will step up to the plate or thinks they have enough market share that they can take a hit there and while discouraging any iOS/Mac developers from create software outside of the Mac ecosystem. As right now it’s easy for say an iOS developer to install Eclipse and start porting their iOS app to Android.

  7. @Marco – the very fact that you can “move to Linux” means that you are not “locked down” by Apple.

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