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Give me any reason at all to use Mac OS X for Java development

Posted by joconner on January 29, 2007 at 3:24 PM PST

Give me a reason, any reason at all, to continue using Mac OS X as my primary development platform for Java applications. Java SE 6 is available now for Windows, Linux, and Solaris platforms. Why not for Mac OS X? Don't you dare mention that Java SE 6 is available on Mac OS X...I know about that. The available Java SE 6 implementation is stuck at build 88 and hasn't been updated in months.

Steve Jobs recently hinted that consumer interest of Java on their new iPhone was minimal. So, maybe Java ME won't be available there for a while. Maybe he also thinks that consumers aren't interested in Java applications on Apple's other hardware. Daniel Steinberg wrote a recent opinion piece on an O'Reilly site that questions Java's viability on future OS X systems too. Do you realize how disappointing this is?

For me, the question of consumer interest for Java apps on OS X is unimportant. I'm a Java developer, and I use a laptop or desktop computer to do my work. Although I don't care what platform my applications run on (that's one reason for Java after all), I might choose a Mac OS X machine for my development work. In fact, I already have. I have a MacBook Pro that I selected for two reasons:

  • I wanted to try a Mac. Never had one before. I'm thrilled with it, its consumer apps, and its ui.
  • I thought Apple was committed to Java on this platform, and I wanted to use it to develop Java apps regardless of what platform those apps would eventually run on.

Now that I have this MacBook Pro, however, I recognize that the primary application that I use on a daily basis (a current JDK) is not up-to-date. And I don't see any information from Apple to allay my fears about not having a current Java SE 6 implementation. Curiosity about the OS X platform aside, if I don't have this particular application (a current JDK), I really don't have a good reason to have this MacBook Pro. An iPod or Apple TV? Sure, I might get one of those...repeatedly in the case of the iPod. But I won't need another laptop or desktop from Apple...not if my most important work application is unavailable.

So, my message to Apple is this: I understand that consumer interest in Java apps may not be a reason to push Java SE 6 on OS X or Leopard. However, some potential customers would buy an Apple laptop or desktop system if a current JDK were available. How many? I don't know the numbers, but if anyone is counting, they can start counting with me. I want to be a customer if Apple will let me.

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