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The Fragile Army

Posted by editor on April 30, 2008 at 6:40 AM PDT

Java 6 (finally) for Mac... now what?

Long after its Sun-developed debut on Windows, Linux, and Solaris, Java SE 6 is finally available for the Mac. As I posted to the Mac Java Community's features feed:

Available via to Software Update, Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 1 adds Java SE 6 version 1.6.0_05 to your Mac. This version of Java is only for Mac OS X v10.5.2 and later, and only runs on 64-bit Intel machines. Developers may want to check out the release notes, which detail major new features including an API to work with the Dock icon (getting and setting the image, adding a badge, setting a dock menu, etc.), the ability to provide document-modal dialog sheets, support for Java DTrace probes, AppleScript as a supported language to the javax.script API, and more.

So... what to make of this? There's been a whole lot of unhappy with the long delays getting Java 6 to the Mac. It's somewhat inexplicable, considering that back in 2006, Apple had actually been tracking the JDK 6 betas pretty closely with developer previews of their own, but after JDK 6 went final in late 2006, the updates stopped. Many assumed that JDK 6 would be in Leopard, but then that OS update slipped from early 2007 to late 2007 because of iPhone demands, and then to everyone's surprise, Leopard shipped without JDK 6, a year after a more or less complete JDK 6 b88 was offered to developers. Conspriacy theorists, Apple kremlinologists, and ticked-off ranters have had a field day over the last six months, but now that JDK 6 final is out -- to say nothing of the very encouraging work being done on the open-source Soy Latte Java runtime for Mac OS X -- it's all water under the bridge, right?

Well, apparently not. Apple's new JRE runs only on Mac OS X 10.5.2 or higher (sorry, Tiger users), and only on 64-bit Intel hardware. PowerPC and 32-bit Intel machines aren't supported. Fabrizio Giudici notes the problems with this in his blog Apple's Java 6 on Mac OS X available:

No support for 32bit, no support for PPC. Yeah, PPC is dead, but how many existing installations exist with PPC and 32 bit Intel? And how long you'll have to wait before there's a decent percentage of 64bit installations so you can put it as a requirement for your app? Not counting that if you bought a Mac earlier than 2 years ago, like me, you just need to buy some new gear to start developing with it.

There's also a number of pretty heated comments already posted to Fabrizio's blog, with one saying that Apple's focus on the desktop and Java's problems there make it "surprising that Apple still ships Java at all." One reply says that if the author wants to see NetBeans fly on the Mac, he or she should install Linux on the box instead.

It's a pretty safe bet that this debate is going to continue through the day. But let's take note of one other interesting thing. In previous years, Apple has often offered an announcement or major release during JavaOne week, like how they posted their first PPC-compatible Java 6 previews during their 2006 JavaOne BoF. So, they could surely have held this release another week and put it out next week during JavaOne, right?

Except that, from looking at the JavaOne Conference Guide and Schedule Builder, Apple is neither sponsoring, exhibiting, nor presenting at this year's conference.

Oh yeah, that's gonna kick off a few more blogs...

In Java Today,
the JCP has announced the nominees for the 2008 JCP Program Awards. The program recognizes excellence in six categories: JCP Member of the Year, JCP Participant of the Year, Most Innovative JSR for Java SE/EE, Most Innovative JSR for Java ME, Most Outstanding Spec Lead for Java SE/EE, and Most Outstanding Spec Lead for Java ME. Winners will be announced next week at JavaOne.

The SDN's latest Core Java Technology Tip is John Zukowski's Using Generics With Wildcards and Extends. "Most people don't fully understand the use of the extends keyword when using generics. A typical example shown to explain the use of extends has to do with drawing shapes. Instead, this tech tip will use an example that uses Swing components so that you do not have to create extra new classes. "

In today's Weblogs, Frederic Barachant offers some thanks in Achievement and a look back.
"I recently deployed a new application to a customer's facility. Now that everything is fine there, i took a look back and watched what i did last year. One thing is sure, i could not have done it completely alone. To resume, i love you all. Yeah, i mean it."

Java Secrets Revealed #1, Ethan Nicholas offers "the first of hopefully many articles detailing little-known facts about the inner workings of the JRE. In this episode: Java Plug-In vs. Java Web Start; Class Data Sharing."

In today's Forums,
terrencebarr explains where the JSR ends and the implementation-specific stuff begins in the followup

Re: Java ME Launcher.
"A launcher is part of the application management system (AMS) which is specific to each platform because of the way it integrates into the rest of the system and the way applications are installed and run. So unfortunately there is no common UI for that. However, MIDP 3.0 tightens the spec in a couple of places in that regard to make the behavior more predictable for developers."

Scott Oaks has a question about
Cookies, load balancers, and Internet Explorer.
"I have a HW loadbalancer sitting in front of my glassfish cluster. When I visit the loadbalancer (, it forwards the request to one of the instances (, which sends back the response including a JSESSIONID cookie. Then the next request goes to the loadbalancer, which presumably will use the cookie to send the request to the appropriate instance. Which all works flawlessly with Firefox and Opera. IE, however, decides not to send the cookie back."

Finally, ebresie is looking for a
Java ME Tutorial.
"I am aware of many of the articles and books about programming with ME, but I notice there does not seem to be a freely available version of a tutorial in the same calibar as the Java SE and Java EE tutorials available. Is there any chance of doing so?"

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Java 6 (finally) for Mac... now what?


Actually, i do have a session with Mike Swingler (Swing / AWT lead for Apple VM) on Tuesday evening. You can see more details here.