Java 5 available for Mac OS X

Also on the Java release front, Apple has finally released Java 5.0 for Mac OS X. You’ll need to first upgrade to Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) to get this–previous versions of the operating system need not apply.

Apple is taking a cautious approach to the rollout of Java 5.0 for Mac. This first release of the new platform does not replace the default version of Java (1.4.2) on the system, but rather installs alongside it.

By default, therefore, Java 5.0 will only be used by Java programs bundled as Mac applications that contain an Info.plist file that specify a JVMVersion of 1.5+ or 1.5*.

Alternatively, users may configure Java 5.0 to be the default version of Java on the system using the new Java Preferences utility included with the update.

In short, this means that if your Java application requires features of Java 5.0, then to run it on Mac OS X you’ll either need to bundle it as a Mac application and provide instructions for users who haven’t installed the update, or you’ll have to ask your users to modify the default Java version in use on their system. Neither option is particularly feasible.

For now, take this opportunity to test your Java applications on the latest incarnation of Java for Mac, and wait for the day when Apple makes the new version the default.

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