31 October 2007

Java applications on Leopard

It seems Java developers are very disappointed by the fact that not only does Leopard not ship with Java 1.6 but that the Java 1.6 preview available from the Apple Developer Connection is simply gone.

Does that mean that Java applications will stop working on Leopard ? No.

Leopard comes with Java 1.5. Quote from Apple: "Mac OS X includes the full version of J2SE 1.5, pre-installed with the Java Development Kit (JDK) and the HotSpot virtual machine (VM), so you don't have to download, install, or configure anything."

So, you can still run OmegaT, OpenLanguageTools, Heartsome's Translation Suite and any other software that does not depend on Java 1.6 without a glitch, as far as I've tested.

Some developers have reported that the Java 1.6 preview totally broke Java on Leopard but it is not the case for me... [see the update at the bottom]

Anyway, it is likely that Java 1.6 will be released soon as seems to believe Eric Burke of "It's just a bunch of Stuff That Happens"...

Check this Apple Developer Connection page to see if you miss a Java 1.5 update on Tiger.

ps1: OpenLanguageTools is not advertised as a Mac application but the UNIX version runs very well on Mac.

ps2: Heartsome will soon release version 7 of its suite.

update: Java 1.6 did indeed break a few things. When Leopard is installed the Java preferences in /Applications/Utilities/Java allow you to change the default JVM to Java 1.6. Don't do that! If you do, a number of processes that are meant to run with an unspecified version of Java will try to run with Java 1.6 and won't work. Since the Java Preferences also seems to call that unspecified version of Java, you will be stuck without being able to get back to a default Java 1.5.

Well, there may be tricks to do get back there quickly, be the safest route seems definitely to remove Java 1.6. Javablog indicates a straightforward procedure to do so. Not for the faint of heart! But that is the cost of using developer preview beta software...

30 October 2007

What I like in OSX 10.5

Apple advertises over 300 new features in OSX 10.5. A lot of them have no immediate use for the translator but some of them really rock. 300+ New Features

Here is my current and most immediate pick. The list will grow as I use them in real life.


I never really used Spotlight, even on my relatively fast MacBook. Instead I had Butler as an application launcher and the standard Finder for file searches (even though the Finder used Spotlight technology).

Now, Spotlight is all this and more.

  • it displays applications first, so that you can really use it as an application launcher. Even though it is not as sophisticated as Butler, it does the job very properly.
  • searches are faster than on Tiger.
  • it calculates as you type a formula. I used PlainCalc for that before, and even though PlainCalc is much more powerful than Spotlight, the later is currently just what I need most of the time.
  • it acts as a (English) dictionary by showing you the first line of the definition of the word you type, clicking on the result will bring you to the Dictionary application.

Spotlight on Apple's "New features" page.


Dictionary now has a set of 3 Japanese dictionaries (Shogakukan) and also accesses Wikipedia in the main available languages. It is faster than launching Safari to find a reference online. The only drawback, when compared to Safari, is that Dictionary does not display the language versions links of the article you are reading which does not allow the user to jump to the target language in which the reference is sought.

Dictionary on Apple's "New features" page.


Automator now has a "Record" function that allows it to remember mouse activity on any application's menus. That allows for quick "macro" recording in applications that are not well integrated with OSX and/or that do not support AppleScript. Java applications for translators come to mind !

Automator on Apple's New features" page.

What I miss in OSX 10.5

The ability to have a different input system per window

This setting was present in Tiger under "International > Input Menu" at the bottom of the window, the same location in Leopard only indicates the keyboard shortcut to change of input method.

Use case: you translate from a language that requests a different input system from the language you translate to. When you need to type a word in a dictionary to check its meaning, you change of window, change of input system, type, get the results, go back to the original window, go back to the original input system and type. Having the OS remember which input systems goes with which application is quite a time an annoyance saver...

Clear visual clues to identify folders in the Dock

John Siracusa has a full page about that on Ars Technica, with plenty of nice screenshots:

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: the Ars Technica review: The Dock By John Siracusa | Published: October 28, 2007 - 11:36PM CT