Following the end of Apple’s support for Java in OS X in October 2010, Java developer Oracle announced on Friday the release of Java SE 7 Update 4 and JavaFX 2.1. The tools represent the first Java development kits available for the OS X platform and lay the groundwork for future Oracle support of consumer-based Java in OS X.
The end of Apple’s support for Java in OS X began in late 2010, when Apple noted in its developer documentation that “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.”
After that announcement sparked concern from Java developers, Steve Jobs commented on the decision in an email reply to Scott Fraser of Portico Systems, a developer of Java-based enterprise software.
“Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms. They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it,” the late Apple CEO wrote.
With Java’s ambiguous future on OS X not resolved by Mr. Jobs’ email, Apple and Oracle announced several weeks later the OpenJDK project, with Apple releasing several key components of OS X so that Java developers could continue to support the platform on future releases of OS X.
Now, with today’s release of the Java development kits, a consumer-focused build of Java SE 7 is possible and should be available, according to Oracle, “later in 2012.”
Mr. Jobs’ assessment of the way Java is updated in OS X became notoriously highlighted in the past two months when Apple was forced to release several Java updates and tools to combat Flashback, a trojan horse that took advantage of a vulnerability in OS X’s Java implementation, a vulnerability that had been patched months prior on other platforms’ Java implementations but had not made it into OS X.