23 February 2011

Java is not so dead after all...

The announcement came from Oracle, a few weeks after Apple's declaration (see Java is dead! Long live Java?).

Basically all of Apple's Java efforts will be handled by Oracle, within the OpenJDK project and Oracle will release Java for Apple machines, not Apple anymore.

If you are interested in declarations, check this link: OpenJDK News, Nov. 12.

Before OpenJDK took charge of the OSX version of Java, there were a number of projects that attempted to use the FreeBSD version of OpenJDK to create something that would run under OSX.

Now, OSX has its own development project at OpenJDK and things are slowly progressing, which is a very good thing...

The project goals are:

  • Pass all appropriate certification tests for Java SE 7
  • Include a complete, native Cocoa-based UI Toolkit
  • Provide excellent performance

Which basically translates into: what Apple has been providing us with since the beginning of OSX, but by the people who are behind Java (and hopefully with simultaneous Windows/Linux/OSX releases).

If you want to build Java on OSX, you can. Follow the instructions on this page: Mac OS X Port. I have built Java 1.7 on my machine and it worked well with OmegaT. The only problem is that the UI toolkit still depends on X11, which means that your favorite Java application will not look like a native citizen of OSX. But that will happen!

If you want to see how the project advances and check the discussions (and participate in case you have a problem building the thing for example) check the following links:

The questions that remain unanswered are the following:

  1. Will Java 1.7 on OSX be available at the time OSX 10.7 Lion is released next summer?
  2. If not, will OSX 10.7 Lion include the current Apple released Java 1.6 by default an all new machines?
  3. Once Java 1.7 is released by Oracle, will Apple include it in OSX bundles or will users have to go fetch it from Oracle's site ?

My take is that Java 1.7 will not be finished by the time Lion is released, and for the rest, I have no idea.
I'd like to say "yes" for a default Java 1.6 in Lion and "possible" for inclusion of Oracle's Java in further releases (after all OSX bundles plenty of third party development tools). We'll see.

But the future is definitely much brighter than it was back in October.