By Kevin Yank

Missing in Action: Java 6 for Mac

By Kevin Yank

Java developers are up in arms over the recent release of Mac OS X Leopard, and the sudden silence from Apple regarding the future of Java 6 on the Mac. Not only did Leopard not ship with Java 6, but Apple has quietly taken down the developer preview of Java 6, and is reportedly deleting threads in the Apple developer forums asking why.

As anyone who has attended a developer conference in the past few years can attest, developers as a group are some of Apple’s best customers. If only Apple treated its developers with as much reverence.

In a post on The Java Lobby entitled So Long Apple. The Party’s Over, Michael Urban summed up the situation nicely:

Not only did Leopard not ship with Java 6, but Apple, in typical fashion, apparently thinks it has no obligation to its customers to inform them about why the plans changed, and when (or even if at this point?) Apple will ever have a working copy of Java 6.

Now, it’s obvious that Apple hasn’t dropped Java completely. As many developers have pointed out, Apple did do plenty of work on its version of Java 5 for the Leopard release. Ben Galbraith recently gave a run-down of his favourite Java improvements in Leopard, based on Apple’s Release Notes for Java 5 on Leopard, for example.

But still, despite what is now going on two weeks of furor in the Java community, there is no word from Apple about the state of Java 6 on Mac OS X.

On the one hand, there is speculation that its release is imminent, based on Apple’s history of releasing Java 5 within weeks of Mac OS X Tiger. On the other hand, the significant improvements Apple made to Java 5 for the release of Leopard cast doubt in my mind over whether Apple has done any work on Java 6 lately.

None of this would be anywhere near as frustrating if Apple would simply break its stony silence. It’s one thing to hold back announcements of new products to maximize their marketing impact, but keeping your most important allies—developers—in the dark about the future of major technologies like Java is no way to do business.

  • Roger Ramjet

    Who gives a crap about this, seriously? Kevin wake up and move on.

  • I give a crap

    @Roger I give a crap about this you arrogant tool!

  • I give a crap about it.

    There are significant issues with rendering of Java apps even with Java 5.

    Try using IntelliJ with the MacOSX theme for more than a few hours and I’m sure you’ll come across some horrible bugs. – tabs stop working, rendering issues etc.

    Tiger was a lot better development environment than Leopard.

  • Dave Eaton

    I care. I don’t do anything professional with Java, but rather bang out scientific code, generally prototype stuff. I like java, and I would love to see it supported properly by Apple. I’m not the demographic that will hold much sway, I suppose, but I think it sucks.

    Java insulates me from worrying about the blood and guts of Mac development. I can develop on whichever platform happens to be in front of me. It has been enabling me to be completely neutral about where I work on things. I’d hate to lose that.

  • gogetter

    Well, I guess I don’t give a crap about Apple and their over-hyped products either . I have never trusted this company. It is controlled by a bunch of incompetent crooks with a hidden agenda. Take the iPhone, code name “Enslaver”, for example. Locked and no GPS! What a shameless hype! And now the arrogance with Java 6. What do they care about Java 6? They are much greater than Java. It really hurts to be an Apple fen these days, and feel the pain from behind… Sorry guys, not worth discussing any further really.

  • fishinwa

    Well, you wrote a blog about how glad you were about switching to a Mac and thought how important it was to get rid of baggage. Well, there’s some baggage to get rid of, eh? Ever curious about what baggage you’re missing?

  • brad

    Java is great. Have been developing with it for nine years. Haven’t used a Mac since 1985, or so. Am I missing anything?

  • Ronnie

    Well, you wrote a blog about how glad you were about switching to a Mac and thought how important it was to get rid of baggage.

    Yeah sounds pretty strange to me either. He even said that he was using up to 60% of his mac enviroment or something. Was Java that 40% missing? Doesn’t seem to be that irrelevant. Time to switch to a real developer-friendly os, coz apple never was anyway.

  • marbly

    Apple has been waiting for BSD to implement it first :P

    possible ey?

  • VRuss


    Thanks for the update, but it isn’t a surprise. Apples attitude towards consumers and customers is not good. It won’t add to it’s customer base by being arrogant.

    Apple is in a prime position to regain OS market share at the expense of Microsoft by releasing Leopard to the masses sans Apple hardware, yet SJ won’t do it. If leoplard was released for around $100US, I’d buy it tomorrow, as would hundreds of thousands of those unhappy with Vista.

    It is time for Linux to really make the desktop home. Which distro???

  • altjeringa

    Major disappointment. I recall Apple calling on Java deveopers years a go saying the Java was a first class citizen on OS X since that day it’s lagged behind every other platform. This is nothing new. That said, how many people are developing on the Java 1.6 platform? The adoption of new versions of Java in the industry always lags behind about a year, as does Apples release of a new JDK/JRE. Yes I’m pissed, but I’ve been around long enough to know better.

  • this is interesting, I just bought a Mac, I always assumed the latest Java was available on Macs, I’m new the whole Mac world. So yes, I care about this as I am Java developer. But it’s true the industry is far behind. I just finished a contract job, the company I was working for uses Java 1.4.2 and Struts 1.1, both really old.

  • I think this is a good blog and worth a mention.

    On the one hand, there is speculation that its release is imminent, based on Apple’s history of releasing Java 5 within weeks of Mac OS X Tiger.

    Apple have not said they are not supporting it have they? I would therefore assume it’s more likely to be a delay than a rejection. They had to get Leopard out before xmas and if they had to do this without java 6, it would have made financial sense which would strengthen the position of the company. It would be in their interests to officially respond on this issue not to keep people in the dark and create a panic, but they obviously missed that. As for releasing features after the core product launch, are we not already used to this with Microsoft and every almost every other OS out there.

  • Mahesh

    Apple might be coming with its own programming tool like java that could be deployable over any os not like .net which runs only on windows.

    That could be the reason what u think?

  • Habiburahman Khaled

    Sorry Correct spelling of Mac at first line


  • Thanks, interesting blog article!

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