November 12, 2010, 11:02 AM — Java enthusiasts can relax a little bit: on Friday, Apple announced that it will work with Oracle to help create an open source Java SE 7 implementation for Mac OS X.
That would seem to be a 180-degree turn from last month's news that Apple was deprecating the runtime of Java included in the company's operating system. Apple will be contributing a host of technological components to the open source project, OpenJDK for Mac OS X, including both 32- and 64-bit Java virtual machines, class libraries, a networking stack, and the underpinnings of a new graphical client. In addition, Apple said that the current Java SE 6 implementation will continue to be available in both Snow Leopard and the upcoming Mac OS X Lion, due out next year.
The move makes sense for Apple, as it means it can hand over the Java technology it's been using for years--lock, stock, and barrel--to the open source community. And it means that Apple no longer has responsibility for Java.
Indeed, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet, said in the statement announcing the project, "The best way for our users to always have the most up to date and secure version of Java will be to get it directly from Oracle."
Astute observers will notice that the phrasing of that statement echoes another recent Apple announcement, this one regarding Adobe's Flash technology. Eyebrows were raised last month when it was discovered that Apple's new MacBook Air shipped without Adobe's Flash Player Web plug-in installed by default. When quizzed on the topic, Apple spokesperson Bill Evans told Daring Fireball's John Gruber:
We're happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac, and the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version is to download it directly from Adobe. [emphasis added]