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Apple moves to 'deprecate' Java on Macs

updated 11:45 am EDT, Thu October 21, 2010

Tech on path to completely abandonment?

Some details on the future of Java on Macs has emerged in combination with the release of two Java updates, a tipster tells MacNN. "As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple, and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated," the company now remarks in the Mac OS X Reference Library. "This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X."

"The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products," Apple goes on to say.

The note may signify that Apple intends to abandon Java with Mac OS X Lion, at least in terms of making it a default component. Rules for the upcoming Mac App Store caution that software using optional or deprecated technologies will be rejected, which may force developers to sell Java-based apps outside the store after Lion's arrival. Until this week, Apple worked on creating its own Java runtimes.

Apple may be veering away from third-party plugins in general. The new MacBook Air, launched Wednesday, comes without Flash pre-installed.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Java based apps

    While I recognize the value of easy portability with Java-based apps, the fact is that they run horribly. I try to avoid Java based apps whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are a few instances where it isn't avoidable...

  1. _Rick_V_

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh boy, this blows.

    While nobody is particularly fond of Java apps--it does serve a pretty important role, especially in business. Java is not only often used for internally-developed apps, but it's also required for things like Webex, GoToMeeting, and virtually all business-class screen-sharing solutions.

    If Java isn't available at all, this could be very detrimental for Macs in the business environment. (If it's offered as a on-demand download, like Rosetta is now, than that's a workable solution).

  1. cosmotic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Java app quality

    The apparent poor-quality of Java apps has nothing to do with Java itself. Please reconsider bashing the Apps instead of the platform they are written on. There are many well-written Java applications.

  1. _Rick_V_

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Java app quality

    Cosmotic, you're absolutely right-- Java is like any other programming language, and bad interface is bad interface, not due to the programming language but just bad design.

    Unfortunately, due to the relative cross-platform portability, a lot of apps are merely ported over with little regard to MacOS UI conventions, giving them a bad rap from Mac users.

  1. rbodgers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    How do you get paid to write this stuff?

    First, suggesting that "Apple intends to abandon Java with Mac OS X Lion" is wild and completely unfounded speculation. Deprecating Java in Snow Leopard doesn't mean it will disappear in 9 months. All sorts of APi's have been deprecated for quite some time before they were removed, if they were removed.

    Second, after Oracle bought Sun (who created Java), they've been unclear about Java's future. This summer they even sued Google for using Java in Android.

    Third, Java isn't a plugin. It's one of three Application Frameworks officially supported in Mac OS X since day one: Carbon, Cocoa, and Java.

    Fourth, why on Earth would you think that just because Apple stopped pre-installing the Flash plugin (a highly public difference of opinion not withstanding) and deprecated Java (which, I must repeat, is NOT a plugin), they would suddenly start "veering away from third-party plugins in general"? Do you mean that they may discontinue "plugins" such as Samba, Apache, PHP, Perl, ipfw, VNC, BSD kernel, SIP, xxmp (jabber), Postfix, Cyrus and Dovecot, Ruby, bash (and other shell scripting languages)......

    Fifth, BASIC grammar here:
    "Some details on the future of Java on Macs HAVE emerged..."
    Even MS Word gets that one right.

  1. Le Flaneur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    so what does this mean?

    I appreciate your comments, rbodgers, but what then what does deprecating Java mean? At the very least, that its future on MacOS X is uncertain? How will programs like CrashPlan function?

  1. lujo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Avoiding Java in App Store

    Sounds to me as though Apple is making moves to avoid approving any apps in the new App Store that are primarily Flash or Java based. My guess is that both will continue working on the Mac for quite some time but you won't be able to buy apps based largely on either platform in the App Store.

  1. wg45678

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Or could this mean someone else is picking up Java

    Say, Oracle? After all, Sun maintained JavaVM on Linux and Windows. Perhaps they'll finally do so on MacOS X instead of leaving it to Apple. Which would be good for everyone since Apple's Java lags the official Sun/Oracle VM release on Windows and Linux.

  1. gudin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I agree. All this hand wringing and knashing of teeth, and hyperbolic headlines not withstanding, this could easily be BETTER for Java on the Mac platform.

    1. They are not "Deprecating Java" they are deprecating THEIR RUNTIME JVM.
    2. Most Java is server based, and could still be used on the mac. Only the client apps are a potential issue.
    3. Windows doesn't come with a preinstalled Java JVM, and never has. Yet. . . .
    4. There are open source jdk and they should continue to work fine.
    5. Apple relies completely on WebObjects to run their store, iTunes, the App Store, presumably the Mac App Store and every dollar they make goes through WebObjects . . . which is a Java based set of frameworks. They are not killing the ability to use Java on a mac anytime soon.

    Apple has had better out of the box Java support than Windows, which has none, but Windows Java relies on the version created and compiled by Sun (now Oracle). Previously, Apple was slow on the uptake with improvements to Java and keeping it up to date, because Apple was doing it. Now, Oracle (I assume) will do it for them, and it's very possible that Java will be as up to date on the mac as anything else, as the mac is up and coming, and there are MANY Java people who prefer to develop on the mac. Now they can play with the latest and greatest.

    All that said, if you are a developer who sells Java cross-platform client apps based on Swing, this could be an issue, as one of the things Apple has done with the JVM is provide a pseudo Cocoa/Aqua-esque look and feel for Swing apps. Not quite the same as the genuine article, but many are perfectly fine and widely used professionally. Not having these hooks could reduce them to the standard of Swing apps everywhere else, unless Oracle continues these efforts as well.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oye! Grammar police!

    "Tech on path to completely abandonment?

    Some details on the future of Java on Macs has emerged..."

    What the heck? Don't you kids have proof readers?

    "...complete abandonment?" or "...completely abandon?"

    "Some details have...", or "Some detail has..."

    Jeepers! My third grade english teacher is crying in her grave right now. :P

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