Java SE 7 Update Includes Support for Mac OS X

Oracle's  recent release of the Java Platform Standard Edition 7 Update 6 (Java SE 7 U6) is available on Mac OS X -- that includes the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Java Development Kit (JDK). Support in this update for the Apple OS preceded Windows support, but in its announcement Oracle promised to provide future auto updates at the same time for both operating systems. This update also supports Java SE 7 on Linux and Solaris.

Oracle also released an upgrade of its rich client platform, JavaFX 2.2, and the first release of its visual layout tool, JavaFX Scene Builder. JavaFX 2.2 is now bundled with the Java Development Kit (JDK) on Windows, Mac, and Linux x86/x64.

In 2010, Apple announced plans to deprecate the Java runtime ported by Apple to the Mac OS X. "Deprecating" the custom-ported Java packages for the Mac left them in place, but without support, and with a strong recommendation for developers to avoid them.

At the time, industry watchers doubted that Oracle would take over the job of supporting Java on the Mac, but the company promptly released both a 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."

Oracle and Apple are both participants in the OpenJDK project, the free, open-source implementation of the Java SE specification, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) with a linking exception. (The GPL linking exception exempts components of the Java class library from the GPL licensing terms.) OpenJDK is hosting the development of Java SE 7 on Mac OS X and JDK 8, the prototype reference implementation of Java SE 8. Weekly developer preview builds of JDK 8 continue to be available from

The Java SE 7 update also introduces a JDK for Linux on ARM v6 and v7 processors. The JDK aims to address such "general purpose" ARM systems as those emerging in the micro-server ARM market. The company points to Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer designed to plugs into a TV and a keyboard. The new JDK is licensed under the Oracle Binary Code License and is available for download at no cost for development and production use on general-purpose platforms, the company says.

"Oracle continues to expand our support for the Java platform and now, for the first time, consumers and developers have access to the latest Java SE features and security updates across all major operating systems: Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X," said Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president in Oracle's Fusion Middleware and Java products group, in a statement. "We're also focused on improving the client Java experience with the release of JavaFX Scene Builder, and bundling JavaFX with Java SE to provide better performance and improved usability for JavaFX applications, without having to install and maintain a separate product."


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].