Apple Updates Java Runtime for the Last Time

Apple has announced a preview of what will likely be the last two Java runtime updates it will ever provide for its operating systems. After the release of "Java for OS X 2012-004" and "Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 9," all Mac-centric Java development becomes the responsibility of Oracle.

In 2010, Apple declared that, as of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, "the Java runtime ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X is deprecated. Developers should not rely on the Apple-supplied Java runtime being present in future versions of Mac OS X." "Deprecating" the custom-ported Java packages for the Mac leaves them in place, but without support, and with a strong recommendation for developers to avoid them.

These updates are part bug fixes and part support for "co-existing with Oracle's Java 7" runtime. Also, these updates implement the automatic disabling of the Java Web plug-in Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), which is a security response to the recent Flashback Trojan attacks.

At the time Apple announced its deprecation plans, industry watchers doubted that Oracle would take over the job of supporting Java on the Mac, but in April of this year, Oracle released both a Java Development Kit (JDK) and a JavaFX Software Development Kit (SDK) for Mac OS X. In its April 26 announcement, Oracle stated: "Java developers can now download Oracle's JDK, which includes the JavaFX SDK, for Mac OS X from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN). Oracle plans to release a consumer version of Java SE 7, including the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for Mac OS X later in 2012." Both can be downloaded from the Oracle Java SE site.

Oracle and Apple are both participants in the OpenJDK project, which is hosting the development of Java SE 7 on Mac OS X and JDK 8, the prototype reference implementation of Java SE 8.

A developer preview of Apple's final Java runtime updates is available now on the Apple Developer site.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].