Java Devs Get Mac OS X Support in Open Source Zulu

Java developers building applications on the latest Mac operating systems can now add the Zulu JDK to their toolboxes.

Created by Azul Systems, Zulu 8.1 for Mac OS X is an open-source build of the OpenJDK that supports both Java SE 8 and Java SE 7. It's available as a free download, and there's an enterprise edition with tiered commercial support.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Azul created Zulu in partnership with the Microsoft Open Technologies group (MS Open Tech). The two organizations joined forces in 2013 to develop a commercial version of the OpenJDK specification for Windows Server and Windows Azure. Support was added later for a number of Linux distros, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Desktop and Server and CentOS Linux.

With the Zulu 8.1 release, the company also aims to make it easier for devs to download and update their Java development and runtime environment. It comes with new Debian installer packages for Ubuntu and Debian Linux distros; new support for distros of Zulu RPM packages through a Yum repository; an updated Azure Web Platform Installer (WebPI); and updates for both OpenJDK 8 and 7 (including accumulated bug and security fixes included in Java 8 update 5, and Java 7 update 55).

The addition of Mac OS X support in Zulu represents a "trifecta" for Java developers, says Azul CEO Scott Sellers.

"Java developers can now run their favorite IDE on their preferred Windows, Linux, and Mac-based system on a freely available, 100% open source, commercialized build of OpenJDK," he said in a statement. "This gives Java developers and enterprises tremendous platform flexibility and choice, and demonstrates Azul's continued commitment to offering open source solutions to the broad Java community."

Although the Mac OS wasn't first on Azul's (or Microsoft's) list, the increasing popularity of that platform among developers has made supporting it a must for companies like Azul, observes Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst at Redmonk.

"While the popularity of Macs has been gradually increasing over the past decade," their rise within the developer population has been far more dramatic and immediate, said in a statement. "Between the aesthetics, the Unix core and the fact that it 'just works,' OS X has been the platform of choice at conferences like OSCON for years now."

Azul's flagship product, Zing, is a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) based on Oracle's HotSpot JVM, a core component of Java SE. It's a "no-pause" JVM designed to eliminate Garbage Collection (GC) pauses, a long-standing challenge for Java developers. This pauselessness, which Azul calls "generational pauseless garbage collection" (GPGC), enables Java app instances to scale dynamically and reliably. Azul has long targeted GC, which Sellers has called the Achilles heel of Java.

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].