Signs Of The Apocalypse: Oracle and Apple to Collaborate on Open Source Java for Mac

Don't be fooled by serpents bearing fruit

In a sure sign that the apocalypse is fast approaching, those two open source friendly powerhouses, Apple and Oracle, today announced that Apple is joining the Oracle OpenJDK community. After first casting doubt a while back about the future of Java on the OS X platform, Apple and Oracle today reaffirmed the future of Java on the Mac platform. Apple also pledged to help support the new version 7 of the Java SE by donating a lot of the code it has developed to date for Mac. It also pledged to continue supporting the Java SE v 6 currently available.  While this seems like a truly altruistic, magnanimous move by Apple, as usual there is more here than meets the eye. In fact, like the good book says be careful of serpents bearing fruit

Apple's real intent here is to absolve themselves of any responsibility for Java security or performance going forward on the Mac platform. As you may know Apple just released a pretty big patch which covered something like 130 security holes. Many of them dealt with Adobe's Flash player.  Much like Apple has done with Flash, they are seeking to move out from under the responsibility of making sure it runs securely on OS X.

This represents a big change for the "total control" Apple gang. Their insistence on total control left them to make sure that things like Java, Flash, etc. ran "Apple like" on the Mac. As a result Apple found themselves more and more having to plug holes in these technologies, because no one else had the ability to.  With Adobe, Apple just put it back on them to deal with. In the newest Apple computers, Flash is not even shipped on board.  Users if they want, at their own risk have to download and install it themselves. It will be Adobe's responsibility going forward to fix any holes on the Mac platform, the same way they do on Windows. Frankly, I don't have a problem with them putting the onus on Adobe for this.

What they are doing with the open source community here though is a different story. They are in essence turning over everything they have done to date. This amounts to a lot of work and code actually. It will allow the community to have both a 32 and 64 bit Java SE.  However, the story is that is as far as Apple will go.  After that they are done with the Java on Mac platform. It will be entirely up to the Java open source community to upkeep the Java machine. Security problems in Java on a Mac? Not Apple's problem (after all Apple's computers don't have security problems, just like the commercial says). Go tell it to those crazy open source dudes in the Java community.

Of course if there are not enough people to continue developing Java for the Mac after this next release, then what?  Will Java just fade into oblivion on the Mac?  I don't think it will be that drastic, but the open source community will have to step it up if they are serious about continuing Java on OS X.

Apple comes out of this pretending to be big supporters of open source and helping Oracle and the Java community.  What they are really doing is just washing their hands of it. Don't be fooled by serpents bearing fruit.

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