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Email from Steve Jobs re: Java and OS X (flic.kr)
197 points by sfraser on Oct 22, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 160 comments


"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"


In reply to:

"Mr. Jobs:

I am the CTO and founder of a Software company based in Philadelphia. We create and sell Enterprise software into the health care space.

Our software is Java based, and runs on both the server and desktop. We have been in business for over 12 years now, and are a healthy growing company with about 180 employees.

I am a big Apple customer, as is my company. We love developing and testing Java based software on OS X.

Today in the news were stories like this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/10/21/apple_threatens_to_k...

and here's another example: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20020338-260.html

I am hoping you would consider commenting either to me or via your PR channels what are the future plans for the Java programming language and platform on OS X?

One last note - a growing trend over the last few years at all the software conferences I attend is the popularity of the Macbook laptops. Go to any non-Microsoft focused developers conference and the rooms are typically dominated by Mac laptops. One major reason for this is that OS X is a great platform for Java developers.


Scott Fraser CTO, Portico Systems http://www.porticosys.com

Missing bit at the end of the original message:

"This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message."

It is amusing that these stern words, particularly regarding distribution, never seem to apply to the sender.

That's the footer of Scott's email, not Steve's (Steve's is 'Sent from my iPhone' -- he knows any of his email replies could end up online, of course). He's allowed to share his own correspondence if he wants :)

I think ez77 is pointing out the irony that Scott just published Steve's email response for the entire universe to see, but the footer message on his original email indicates Scott would be none too pleased if Steve did the same to him.

That's what I meant, indeed. If you unilaterally demand to keep things confidential and undistributed, it would seem consistent to do the same. On the other hand, I realize Jobs is fully aware that most of his replies will be published.

That footer is one of those "If you do this in an email, I hate you" bits from the Oatmeal: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/email

>It is amusing that these stern words, particularly regarding distribution, never seem to apply to the sender.

Of course, they never apply to the recipient either, absent further contracts or social pressure. You can put whatever you want in your signature; it doesn't make that able to be enforced.

What might be important which I've observed is that no one of importance seems to read signature disclaimers. Or at least they didn't in my case.

As a grunt programmer while working for one large defense contractor some years ago, I put something similar to the following, embedded in a paragraph of mind-numbing boilerplate and no one up the food chain seemed to notice.

If you are not the intended recipient, you need not do anything. Men in black will come to erase your memory. Have a good day.

It's a legal thing. He mentioned his software was for the healthcare field. He has to, or chooses to, end all emails like that because it's common to the field.

> I am hoping you would consider commenting either to me or via your PR channels what are the future plans for the Java programming language and platform on OS X?

That would be a question for Oracle at this point. I think Apple just let us know what their plans are for Java.

This makes me wonder if Apple has a redistributable license for Java that allows them to build the Java binaries with OS X, or if Sun was the one that built the binaries that have been included in OS X install discs, but allowed them to be shipped out under Apple's control. I can't find any Java code on opensource.apple.com, so I'm assuming the latter.

My personal opinion on the issue is one where Apple and/or Oracle decided that Oracle should control the release schedule of their own software, just like they do with every other platform. I really don't understand why this is such a big deal. Apple decided to not do something completely different and adopted a "normal" behavior and everyone freaks out, just like they do when Apple does something different.

That's actually a fairly decent reply; far better than 'nope' or 'you're holding it wrong'

Considering Java apps are banned from the Mac App Store, and there is currently no Oracle JDK for the Mac, I find it hard to call his comment decent. In the interest of not being inflamatory I refrain from calling it something else.

I've used Macs for years, and I haven't seen a Java app I didn't hate. They're UI is never native and the UX is much slower than good webapp's?

I use exactly one Java application on OS X. And that's Minecraft.

To be fair, you haven't exactly be using many other applications of any kind since installing Minecraft, have you?


Cyberduck generally gets hauled up at this point as an example of a good Java OSX application: http://cyberduck.ch/

Sorry, and maybe it's just me (somehow), but Cyberduck is slow. I'd been using it for years and had been putting up with the 10-second spinning beach ball every time I started it or tried to initiate a file transfer because I assumed that it was my old Macbook at fault. But earlier this year I bought a brand new MBP and the problem persisted, so I tried Transmit. Super fast, no issues. I won't be using Cyberduck again.

Now that I know it's Java, I'm not surprised.

I get beach balls all the time on pretty much everything I do on my mac - terminal, macvim, ical, itunes, mail, firefox, safari, chrome, pages, keynote, screenflow, eclipse, numbers, openoffice and more. They all get slow, lock up, freeze, etc. at some point or another, and it's almost always related to the fact that I'm multitasking. (true, yeah, i'm lame, and it's only a core 2 duo 2.1ghz with 2.5 gigs of RAM - I don't know why I expect to be able to run 3 programs at the same time).

If you have the developer tools installed, in /Developer/Applications/Perfomance Tools there's an app called Spin Control that helps diagnose why apps are spinning.

By default it just sits there waiting for an app to spin for 5 seconds, at which point it starts sampling the app's activity (as in sample(1)). You can set preferences to make it watch a particular named app, and can set the minimum spin time required for it to notice and start sampling the spinning app. The app produces a text report of the output so you can see what functions it's spending its time in.

Might be useful. It seems like you shouldn't be spinning that much, even if you're multitasking.

thank you for this - I have annoying beach ballyness on occasion, it's nice to know there is a way to diagnose the problem.

I was really surprised at how much of a bump I got from a 1.8ghz Core 2 Duo with 2GB of memory to a 2.53ghz i5 with 4GB. My poor Macbook used to choke if I was running more than a handful of programs, or if I was running Flash with anything. Now I can run a bunch of fairly processor-intensive programs (video, VOIP, Flash games, browser with 2 dozen tabs, etc) simultaneously and it rarely chokes.

Since I got such a big productivity gain from this change, I'm looking for other things I can do. I'll be due for an upgrade in another 4-6 months and I think I'll get an SSD.

What's so bizarre with this approach is that 2 years ago the specs on this were near 'top of line', and the software hasn't changed all that much over 2-3 years. I'm not saying it beach balls more now than 2 years ago - it's always been the same. I may do one more mac laptop - a higher end one next time - but I suspect my workstyle - doing multiple things all the time - is always going to end with beach balls, regardless of the mac. :/

I'll bet you'll find whatever versions of Flash you've had have steadily required more and more CPU. I read the crash dumps when my Safari becomes unresponsive and I have to force quit it, and it's always Flash.

Get an SSD. I never get beachballs, and those are my same specs. Disk I/O is about the only thing that chokes up on my MB now.

I experienced something similar when I upgraded my semi-ancicent MacBook up to 4gb of RAM and a faster hard drive, which had amazing (positive) effects on its performance. I suspect that a lot of OSX's performance problems result from slow IO or limited RAM (leading to paging, and slow I/O again, etc.).

As much as I love Safari, Safari is the worst offender in terms of performance on my Mac. It probably doesn't help that I have a bad habit of leaving more than 50 tabs open at a time.

I almost have to admit that the 9 window limit on the iPad's Safari isn't a bad thing. Forces me to instapaper stuff right away and close the window.

You hit the nail on the head. And "Reopen all windows from last session" feeds the addiction, since you can recover from a flash-crash without losing all your tabs.

Friends and family literally have literally made a novelty of exposing safari when they come by to wonder at how many multi-tabbed windows I have open at once. :)

Isn't the quality of UX less a problem of the platform and more a problem of the producing company not focusing on the experience their software should deliver? It's not as if it's impossible to create bad software for the Mac OS simply because it uses the native L&F.

Oracle actually maintains it's own Java cross platform application that many of my coworkers use all day, every day (I use it periodically for some very handy features) - SQL Developer. It's actually quite responsive and usable considering.


I use it daily too on my Mac and its usability is pretty bad. Copy and paste sorta work, but I can never remember when to use cntl-c versus apple-c in this app. The UI is hideous and very un-Mac like. It also doesn't seem to handle network disconnects very well, oftentimes requiring a Force-Quit if I've switched from wired to wireless networking.

That being said, I still use it because I haven't found anything else free that I like. I suppose if I use a tool every day like this one, I should pay to find one that works better.

I'll concede, it isn't perfect and has quite a few quirks, which I can mostly avoid now. However, in my use case some features outweigh the inconveniences (i.e. exporting data). And it's free while all the alternatives I'm looked at aren't.

Except [on Windows, where I use it] it eats about 600Mb of RAM just sitting there doing nothing with all connections closed. Start opening a bunch of tabs and DB connections and you can easily push it into the 1Gb RAM range and it crawls.

Combo it with JDeveloper and a local instance of Weblogic, and you can pretty easily eat up 3Gb of RAM just opening up the standard set of Oracle dev tools.

It's absolutely astounding how long it takes to open, too. Woe to the person who clicks the SQL Developer icon, 20 seconds later still hasn't gotten any response indicating that the system "heard" the click, and then clicks again.

I use DBVisualizer, and while the GUI leaves a little to be desired, I love that app because of the value in the functionality.

I've heard Cyberduck uses Java as well. While I don't use that one any more, I've heard it's very popular. I could not even tell it was a Java app.

edit -- turns out I use a lot of Java apps myself, more related to work, though: Pentaho Studio, SQL Power Architect, etc.

> I've used Macs for years, and I haven't seen a Java app I didn't hate. They're UI is never native and the UX is much slower than good webapp's?

I have a java app that I wrote for my own use. It was written, using xcode, on G3 and G4 Macs. The day I moved to an Intel Mac, the app's performance improved dramatically. You can slap something together (with java) in a hurry and call it an application. Or you can take the time to look at it, refine your algorithms, and make it perform quite well.

Some of the GUI issues, however, are a limitation. While I don't know what the real issues were, I would not be surprised if keeping the java interface elements, as close to the Mac GUI, was a contributory factor here. The Mac GUI is evolving quite quickly. Perhaps java could not keep it.

How does that make Mr. Jobs' comment more informative or honest?

Anyway, I get what you're saying (even though I've seen many web apps that I hate as well). The question is simply whether the Mac is a software platform or a consumer appliance. If it's the latter, then I understand the idea of Apple curating every single piece of software that goes on those machines. Otherwise, the idea of banning everything you or Mr. Jobs don't like is inconsistent with the purpose of the product.

But why should Apple need to create Java on OSX? If Oracle wants Java used on OSX they can produce it just like on Windows; if they don't something else will fill the gap.

He isn't banning anything. Nobody is saying that Java won't be allowed on OSX, just that there is no longer a need for Apple to maintain the development.

Java apps are banned from the Mac App Store that was recently announced. It may become the main distribution channel for Mac applications, if not the only one.

I use DB Viz at work all the time. That said, most of our JRuby stuff refuses to run on OSX. Some of the libraries we use are linux only.

He never said “you are holding it wrong.” Do your own research instead of spreading FUD.

For the record, the actual quote was "Just avoid holding it that way."


You're correct. Turns out I've been caught by one of those unknown unknowns where I didn't do any further research because I didn't know I didn't know something. It's too late for me to edit my original post, but thanks for pointing it out

I'm surprised at the generally positive approach in HN toward Apple's recent announcements. Apple is about to have control over the user's system no one since mainframe-era IBM ever came close to.

Not only they're about to move desktops/laptops into the App Store's walled garden, they are showing they can drop support for major technologies like Java or Flash if they feel like it. This is not good news for anyone but Apple, certainly not anyone calling themselves "Hacker".

I think you may be overreacting a bit here, although we won't know until a few years down the track

Apple aren't about to "move desktops/laptops into the App Store's walled garden", but rather they're about to add an optional place to purchase apps. It's an addition that I think may have some benefit for some users and smaller indie developers. I can see it becoming the way most people purchase most of their apps in time, but I can never see it becoming the only way to do so on the mac.

They also haven't dropped support for either Flash or Java. The new MBAs aren't shipping with Flash installed; so what? OSX is the only OS I'm aware of that does ship with Flash. Java? Well, Java's not going anywhere either.

Right, I think Steve is smart enough to not follow so many others down that path in history. A completely closed system would cut developers off at the knees. Which would put Apple on the hook to develop every piece of software for their ecosystem. There is no way the could keep up with the idea factory that is the masses. I think rather Apple sees an opportunity to provide a sales channel where they get a cut of other people work by acting as the distributor and in turn do things like guarantee that the app if free of malicious actions and compatible with OSX systems.

As for Java, I knew this one was coming, Jobs and Ellison are good friends and Apple and Oracle are the only two companies that either are not at war with, they really don't compete in each other spaces. So I think Jobs is comfortable with Oracle providing the JVM for their platform.

I am sure that Steve has resigned any worry in his head that Java is going to achieve desktop dominance so it is not a Trojan horse to his platform where it will be used to provide OSX apps in preference over the native OSX development technologies.

Giving it back to Oracle means that the developers get the latest JVM at the same time as everyone else not waiting up to a year as the cycle comes around itself. I think it is a good move on both companies parts. I just wonder why Steve always has to be so vague. I think his showmanship has become so ingrained that he just can't come right out and say it everything has to be a big announcement. I guess I cant fault him, it's his trademark and has served him well.

I stated this in another thread, but I will restate here because it seems appropriate.

The App Store will most definitely become the most popular way to find and install applications. Therefore if your app is not in the app store it may as well not exist. The regular user is going to search for the best application within that garden to fulfill their needs which puts all developers at the mercy of Apple to get their app in the store.

I wonder that if this model gains popularity on the desktop, how long it will be before users click that app store icon to find an application they need vs. click the browser icon to find a service on the web that may fit that need.

With strong shift towards web based apps over the past few years it's interesting that a move like this may re-invigorate the desktop app!

I think that is true for most indy apps, but stuff from Adobe or Microsoft will be fine. I also expect verticals to continue to do fine (dedicated sales staff and industry rep). If your an small developer then you probably should be in the app store.

People do want native apps (for a bit of humor http://daringfireball.net/linked/2010/10/21/beltzner )because connectivity is not 100% and the fit, finish, and speed of native apps are better. I don't think your wrong, I guess twitter clients kind of prove the point.

When I read comments like yours, I just want to point at a Terminal.app prompt. Or Bootcamp. You can do anything you want to with a Mac, and there’s no actual indication that’s changing; just FUD.

I'm writing this on my 3rd Macbook. I don't have any reason to spread FUD against Apple. I think dropping Java (there isn't currently a real alternative to Apple's) is a strong indication. The App Store policies are a strong indicator, and restricting iPhone/iPad development environments is a strong indicator.

You may be able to do what you want on your own machine given enough knowledge/time. The issue arises when a business based on a Mac Java app becomes redundant when Apple feels like it, or when it will become very hard to make a living selling an app Apple doesn't feel is right for the Store.

Once upon a time there was a company called Microsoft who controlled a popular OS. People who called themselves "hackers" generally didn't like it, since they asserted this power to control the product space as well, changing APIs or bundling software to eliminate competition. Apple has gone beyond Microsoft's wildest dreams, and are on track become comparably widespread - I don't think they get a pass just because the standby light has the same frequency as a human heartbeat.

Who is supposed to be interested in maintaining Java on OS X? Apple, if their platform were too weak to attract developers who develop specially for the platform.

Oracle, if the Apple's platform is attractive enough. Note that Sun fought Microsoft to effectively take over Java on Windows. I know, MSFT one was not "pure," still that was the result. And one has to wonder if Apple would be sued the same way, since they also have OSX specific bindings.

The current bet is: OSX just became interesting enough to let Oracle maintain Java on it, if they want and are capable.

As far as I understand, the Java applications that were not already using OSX specifics weren't by any measure successful, and the only famous one is that FTP client, which is actually not a "write once works everywhere" Java app, but an OSX app accidentally written in Java. And it's an open source app. Can you please name some examples for "business based on a Mac Java apps?" Especially those that don't use OSX specifics.


They have Java based apps for the Film industry. I have to support them on OS X. They are hideous to use, hideous to install and maintain. I don't know if they use OS X Java specifics, but some how I doubt it.

They were broken by Snow Leopard. Took them months to fix.

My experience, purely as a sysadmin and user, is that cheap and cheerful cross platform apps seem to be much nicer when written for Adobe Air.

Their target was obviously not the users of OSX, I believe it was more an exception.

Can you please name some examples for "business based on a Mac Java apps?" Especially those that don't use OSX specifics.

I don't understand this question.

Either it's a Java app (no platform specified), or it's a Mac Java app that does use OSX-specific code.

Microsoft was sued by Sun because of "a deliberate course of conduct to fragment Java" and had to settle by removing their own Java implementation from the operating system.



As far as I understand Java license doesn't allow you to make a platform specific Java implementation.

So who's then to bet his business on Mac Java apps? The only potentially "safe" approach is not to depend on Mac specifics. But is there any example of a profitable Java app (which made profit by targeting OSX customers) applying the mentioned "safe" approach?

They got sued for not adhering to the Java spec, not for their extensions. The latter would be ridiculous, it would mean you could never distribute the JRE together with any sort of extra libraries. Even the Sun/Oracle runtime ships with non-standard extensions (javax.* , com.sun.*).

> not adhering to the Java spec, not for their extensions.

And AFAIK specs are made for "write once run everywhere."

> it would mean you could never distribute the JRE together with any sort of extra libraries.

You can as long as you are using only what Sun (now Oracle) approves.

> Even the Sun/Oracle runtime ships with non-standard extensions

They make the rules, so what they do can't be used as an argument.

Java certainly does not guarantee "write once run everywhere", although Sun had a "Pure Java" branding effort at one time.

What Microsoft did was extend the language to include an annotations feature (making it source-incompatible), and extending the JVM spec to include new opcodes (which crashed everyone else's JVM). Had they extended Java the conventional way there would not have been a problem.

And AFAIK specs are made for "write once run everywhere."

Yes, my understanding was that the MS implementation did not pass all the compatibility requirements. Adding extra functionality is entirely orthogonal to that point.

IBM's, Azure's and all the J2ME implementations come with proprietary extensions and are blessed by Sun/Oracle. I don't follow your argument.

> and are blessed by Sun/Oracle. I don't follow your argument

I don't have anything more to add than to quote you (the keyword is blessed) and also point to my previous posts. As long as you're forced to get the blessing before you introduce the interface to your own platform (or be forced to leave something out because you know it won't be blessed) why should it be in your interest to maintain the technology of others if you have your own technologies and a platform that's attractive even by itself?

From my own experience with it:

- .class files compiled on Apple's JVM work fine on other JVMs

- Source code written for Apple's version of javac will compile fine on other Java compilers.

To my knowledge, Microsoft's JVM violated both of these requirements, which was Sun's bone of contention. (Android's Dalvik is in similar violation, but doesn't pretend to be "Java" - they're being sued based on patents IIRC)

> .class files compiled on Apple's JVM work fine on other JVMs

Technically, you don't need to compile "on JVM" but "for JVM." And it doesn't seem to be as you describe for most of the cases (in Sun's words, 98%).

> Microsoft's JVM violated both of these requirements

AFAI understand it was far more subtle: the language (the source form representation) was extended with the features which functioned only on Microsoft's implementation, and only such classes were affected. See


for a list of issues of switching from Microsoft VM based upon Java 1.1 to Sun's 1.4.2. The list appears to be very unimpressive.

The app store rules are a fairly smart move from a service and support perspective.

They don't want to have to manage complex dependencies in the app store.

Therefore no optional or deprecated packages.

This move doesn't really support the conspiracy theory of an Apple lockdown strategy, although it certainly doesn't give any confidence that such a strategy is not in the making.

The current App Store policies aren't a theory. The move to the App Store for laptop/desktop was just announced. Apple isn't Evil, it does what any company would do if it could. It's disappointing to see this discussion degrading to Apple fanboy/hater or "conspiracy theory".

I think App Store is a great solution for most users and developers. But not for the particular minority I define as hackers.

Yes, but Apple has given no indication they ever plan to shut down non-App Store distribution of software.

That would be suicidal.

Oracle will provide the JVM, if steve's email is any indication.

why should Oracle do that? Do you know any bank or company that runs Oracle on Macs??????? I don't see any reason for Oracle to maintain java on this platform. We understand that oracle only moves its butt, if moving the butt makes cash. Does anybody know whether they make cash out of java on Macs?

Even if Oracle would provide java, would anybody put so much trust into Oracle, to base the future of his/her software company onto this? Apple again has proven to be unreliable.

I think, this is a serious blow either for java or for Apple itself. Probably we may have to fall back to c, fortran or delphi?

Do you know any bank or company that runs Oracle on Macs

No, but I do know a lot of developers that write Java code that runs on banking infrastructure, that do.

That doesn't bode well. Isn't a large part of the appeal of a Mac that everything "just works"? How do you suppose sysadmins will now feel if banking infrastructure apps no longer "just work" and will now require an additional JVM to be installed from elsewhere and kept up to date through separate channels from Apple's?

I expect they'll get along just fine, the same way companies rely on, say, VPN software where updates are distributed from the vendor's website rather than the OS vendor's website.

I'd actually be curious to know of any banks that use Mac servers.

it does sound more likely that a java dev on a mac gets a windows install as a second boot option than he changes the bank's infrastructure though :)

Or they could do their development on Windows or Linux in a VM. Or via VNC or the Windows equivalent.

At the last big Weblogic project I worked on, the (many) developers worked on Windows in VMs, on Windows boxes. One advantage being that we could use VM images pre-configured with Eclipse and whatnot set up just right.

Even if Oracle would provide java, would anybody put so much trust into Oracle, to base the future of his/her software company onto this? Apple again has proven to be unreliable.

Yes, because as we all know, SUN has been a bright example of RELIABILITY in regards to Java et al...

The collapse of SUN, the Swing for the Desktop/JSF/Java FX fiascoes, the Oracle takeover and the recent JCP fights, totally inspire confidence in Java...

Although a part of me thinks all this FUD, I can't help be concerned about this situation. Here is one more possibility - what if the dev tools now require you to pay an annual fee to even download them?

gcc is GPL, so they can at best make it difficult to get them free, but clang is racing ahead and it is BSD.

I just hope that my faith in Apple that they won't do something ugly like giving free dev tools when they needed developers and switch to charging for them when they got the app market they wanted.

I think there is now room in the market for a company with good design sense to make Ubuntu machines!

I'm surprised at the generally positive approach in HN toward Apple's recent announcements. Apple is about to have control over the user's system no one since mainframe-era IBM ever came close to.

Not only they're about to move desktops/laptops into the App Store's walled garden, they are showing they can drop support for major technologies like Java or Flash if they feel like it. This is not good news for anyone but Apple, certainly not anyone calling themselves "Hacker".

The problem is that you're jumping to some serious conclusions. Nothing about the mac app store demo showed banning of applications from a different source. You're assuming that's their plan, but I don't think it is. The app store makes perfect sense from an end user perspective. One of the great things about linux are the package managers. A central location with lots of software that I can install from AND get updates from.

There is no flash on the iPhone for many well document reasons, so I'll guess you're referring to no flash on the new MBA. Given that any version of flash is out of date and a huge security hole as soon as it's installed, it makes complete sense to force users to go get the latest version when they buy their machine. It wasn't long ago that the shipping version of flash on osx had a huge security hole that made Apple look bad.

What I would like to see if Apple let Adobe put their flash player into the new mac app store. This lets Adobe manage the updates like any other 3rd party developer.

As a 'hacker' I look at what is. Right now my MBP works great and has all the support I need. If Apple does end up going down the path of locking out all other software and/or the ability to hack and develop I'll switch back to linux. At this point though, it's much ado about nothing.

How is the Mac app store any different from Ubuntu's? With both platforms, you can install other programs not in the store. Both of them automate the install and update process for applications. Both of them (now) allow you to pay for apps.

I'm confused by people being upset with the mac app store when FOSS has been doing the same thing for years with package management software. Heck, Cydia is even based off of a *nix package manager.

I don't want to call it fanboyism because I know you have other reasons for disliking their new app store but after seeing how well it works in Ubuntu, why could this possibly be a bad idea?

I never used Ubuntu's store, so my natural question is: do applications have to get approved in Ubuntu's store? If the answer is"no," it may be the biggest difference with the most impact on end-users and developers.

What is it about your personal definition of the word "hacker" that leads you to believe that all such people would arrive at the same opinion about this? This is a popular, growing, and interesting platform. It has APIs, languages, and tools. It's Unix and has a CLI. There is money in them thar hills...why wouldn't there be room for more than one hackerly opinion on the matter?

If the forum was still called "Start-up News", I don't think you'd be able to point out a contradiction. The App Store has made it significantly easier to sell software made by small developers to iOS users, they are about to make it really easy to sell to Mac users too. It's a business opportunity. The worst you can say about it is that commercial software is catching up with ease of distribution of free software.

Hey, you've got 90 days to ship a competing app store for the Mac. Valve has already done so with Steam on Windows and Macs, it isn't insurmountable. What's going to make your one better than theirs?

From someone who works with a OS X software company, the announcement was great. I am really not worried about OS X being closed because of development needs and the server version.

Not shipping Flash on the MacBook Air was pretty understandable given the noise Adobe made about the OS X 10.6 release version of Flash. The whole build & release cycle seems to take longer than it takes Adobe to patch Flash. So, it is probably a good thing to train users to go to Adobe's site and get the newest Flash.

Dropping an Apple version of Java will probably be a good decision and actually help Java developers. If Oracle is actually taking over then OS X will most probably (given Oracle's catalog of OS X software) be at the same version as all the other platforms instead of the current delay.

Another reason to not ship Flash is that by the time you install the OS, the version of Flash is usually outdated and you've got to install the update anyways.

Every time I reinstall an OS, Mac or otherwise, I find myself having to update Flash. If I've got to do that, I may as well install from scratch.

You can still install it yourself... both Windows and Linux don't come with it already installed. I think that that is Jobs's point - if they bundled it, it was out of date by ship-time.

Have you used VMware Fusion 3.0. It is quite fast and integrates well with OS X and MBP hardware. I use a MBP as my workstation and a Fedora VM for development in the MBP.

I dumped it for Virtual Box. As good of a product and free.

I wondered if they had some decent competition. The upgrade from fusion 2.0 to 3.0 was $10.

If the upgrade would have been $10 when I made the decision I would have staid, but it was not when I decided to make the switch. Oh well, I have moved on now.

1. Unless the Mac app store takes away your ability to install apps that aren't in it, I wouldn't be too worried.

2. They're not dropping support for Java, they're just not making it anymore. If Oracle makes a version of Java for the Mac, then it will be supported. If not, then losing Java must not be that big a deal right?

I left OSX for Ubuntu earlier this year because I felt this was the direction things were going, and I didn't want to wake up on kid's computer in 3 years.

BUT you could argue that the announced OSX features are more or less Ubuntu Software Center + some bits of Gnome Shell.

Definitely - but watching Apple's current iPhone/iPad policies, which direction seems more likely?

It is very unlikely that Photoshop will be available on the App Store and there is no way Apple is going to ditch Photoshop (or many other applications which are unlikely to ever end up on the App Store like Office and AutoCAD, both of which Apple lauded in their press event).

The status quo is powerful. There was no status quo on phones, that’s why Apple could just come up with one. It would not be in Apple’s best interest to change the rules so radically on the Mac.

It don’t know what Apple will do in a decade but I’m fairly confident that there will be no rapid change in what Apple allows you to install on your Mac. Steve Jobs already said that you will be able to install whatever you want on OS X Lion which keeps OS X safe at least until about summer 2013. I think it’s a bit premature to complain now.

I think yo are confusing desktop and mobile environments..

Steve Jobs did not outlaw manual installs of any software on desktop Macs..he just made the MacApp store feel Boutique or exclusive to consumers..

Aligning the Java release schedules for OS X and basically all other platforms would be fantastic. Rather than some kind of deprecation, this actually makes OS X a first-class citizen in the Java ecosystem.

As long as the horrible Java updater that the Windows version is saddled with doesn't come along as well. I've switched to using a MBP as my primary development machine but every time I start my windows boxes back up (which isn't that infrequently, probably once a week or so) it seems like there is a new Java update. It wouldn't be so bad, except that it seems that over half the time the update will fail without explanation in the middle.

I think if Oracle quickly steps up to the plate and promises to fill Apple's shoes, this could be a good thing. Otherwise, this could very well be another downside to Oracle gobbling up Sun.

Agreed. (Still not quite as bad as the Adobe Reader updates, though. My god.) Hopefully you'll have the option to use Java on OS X packaged like it is on Linux.

Apple has given no indication that they won't allow users to install Java runtime straight from the source itself. They're merely saying that they won't ship it with the OS anymore.

But a big part of this issue is the upcoming Mac App Store. The rule that's been floated is apps cannot be based on "deprecated or optionally-installed technologies". This makes a lot of sense, dependency hell and all the other related things proprietary platforms do so poorly (I'm looking at you, Microsoft) are seriously improved with such a rule. Just think of the lower number of trouble tickets and irritated customers.

Straight from the source means ... ta-da! "Optionally installed". Therefore, no Java-based apps in the Mac App Store.

Bad for Java app developers on the Mac - Apple's app store is likely to be a very good channel for sales - unless Oracle step up to the plate with a (cross-platform) app store. But good luck with that - it won't be so visible, cross-platform apps are generally dodgy, and it doesn't have Steve Job's magic pixie dust.

Yeah, I seriously doubt we'll be seeing Java make a big splash in the Mac Store. It's not that the UI is inherently bad, but rather that the "Mac experience" demands something tailored to that platform, which defeats the purpose of Jave in the first place. Java is great in that an app will run the same on WinXP or Win7 or MacOSX or Ubuntu. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't want an app that looks and runs the same on OSX as it does on WinXP. I wouldn't be surprised to see them bring in Objective C as the Mac Standard, and treat most other development ecosystems as second-class citizens.

Apple are the arch facists

Bad for Java app developers on the Mac

I find it hard to see the issue, if you are using Java to build an app you are developing a Java app not an OSX app. You are targeting a different run-time than a standard OSX app. To me it is no different than Apple saying you can't sell an Adobe Air app in the app store. or a C# app running on Mono. I see a very valid reason why Apple would instate such a policy. Even though in the past Apple supplied the run-time for Java it still did not make it OSX it was just a very well tailored JRE for OSX, you still write Java apps and not OSX apps if you target the JRE.

Couldn't they make Java updates for OS X use the new App Store mechanism?

The thought of Larry "monetizing" Java by putting it in the AppStore is just too hilarious for words.

Would be against the TOS. Only "safe" apps will be on the app store, nothing that allows other apps to gain root access.

Why would java allow other apps to gain root access?



The JDK would probably need/want to put things in /Library/Frameworks, which I suspect wouldn't be allowed.

All the jars and whatnot, I don't think that's the model Apple has in mind for things distributed via the App Store.

The other thing to note here is that virtually all of Apple's web properties are Java applications. Apple has a tremendous internal investment in Java and Java technologies -- the App Store, Apple Web Store, iTunes Store, hell -- even Ping -- are written in Java (via WebObjects).

Indeed, Apple's career site shows about 94 results for a search for "Java" (in the US): http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?Language=en&CountryId=3

I am curious, how do you know that they used WebObjects?

Having the string "WebObjects" in the URl:s should be a pretty good indicator; https://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore...

It's well known. An extract from Wikipedia:

"Apple is now the biggest client for WebObjects, relying on it to power its online Apple Store, MobileMe online services, and the iTunes Store."

I can verify that the iTunes store and Ping use WebObjects.

it's a pity apple ported their web framework from objective-c to java

Apple always had a strange, conflicting working dynamic with Sun, a company whose purpose became more aligned to developing technology for the sake of developing technology. Larry Ellison has always had a close, personal relationship with Jobs (and I've always believed that Larry wants to be the Apple of the Enterprise world), so maybe this is a sign that the new boss of Java is handling things differently here, or rather Jobs's personal relationship at work here.

Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison are good friends. Jobs was the photographer at Ellison's wedding. Since Oracle bought Sun, it's almost certain the two have discussed Java on the Mac and since Larry has shown his enthusiasm for Java (see JavaOne rundowns), I'm pretty confident things are looking up.

This is encouraging. Didn't know they were friends. Makes you wonder though why they didn't do some sort of coordinated announcement. I'd REALLY like to hear from Oracle about this soon.

It would be nice to get a commitment from Oracle saying that they would support a Mac version BEFORE Apple drops support...

Ya. I have a mac and I always assumed that sun/oracle released their own version that was not installed by default. Well, it appears they dont.

>Apple Computer fournit sa propre version de Java. Utilisez la fonction de mise à jour du logiciel (disponible dans le menu Apple), afin de vérifier que vous disposez de la version la plus récente de Java pour votre Mac.

Positive: Jobs appears to be implying that one of the purposes of this change is that in the future Java will not lag behind on OSX

Negative: He gives absolutely no assurance or even hint that there is a plan that this will really happen, or that Apple will be helpful in facilitating it.

What assurance can he give when it is not in Apple's power to promise anything about what Oracle would do?

I always wondered why SUN wouldn't also ship an OS X version, they already had to support Windows, Linux, Solaris, with mostly native L&F for Swing.

You can't expect Oracle to spend resources and ship for OS X unless Apple gets out of the way. They are deprecating Apple's runtime here, nothing else.

I'm not talking about a contractual assurance here. There are a million ways he could clear the confusion over this. He could easily have picked up the phone and chatted with Larry about it. It would have been simple for him to get some kind of in principal agreement about a handover of the reins. Then he could easily have made a public statement that let everyone know that some arrangements were in place for Oracle to pick up the ball. Or if Larry's playing hard ball he could tell everyone that Oracle is not picking up the ball - either one would be better than just leaving it unstated.

I don't know, to me it makes a lot of sense that Apple's CEO doesn't unofficially announce Java OS X from Oracle via his iPhone. The man's a professional after all.

Apple did their part in dropping their own Java version. Reading these comments, it seems likely Oracle would want to step in.

> Apple's CEO doesn't unofficially announce Java OS X from Oracle

Where on earth did I imply that? What would be wrong with:

"We intend to offer whatever assistance we can to third party JVM providers ensure that Mac users still have an excellent Java runtime available to them"

Instead we have a bold and inflammatory headline saying "Java Deprecation" and on information about whether Java will continue to exist on Macs at all in the future.

Well, Apple could open-source all their Java work, for Oracle to start with.

I expect it would be a lot easier, legally, to just transfer the rights to Oracle.

"open-sourcing" it isn't necessary.

Ah, images. The best way to communicate the text of an e-mail. (Yes, we do have transcripts thanks to mahmud and sfraser, but still...)

It's nice to have "evidence" of the email.

An image like that is approximately as fakeable as the text.

Yes, hence the quotes around "evidence."

E-mail headers would be much better evidence.

Actually it is much more than what meets the eye. As a trend emerges where use of iPads/iPhones increases in the Enterprisy land, it will not hurt Apple to be up-to-date with Java. And as Steve puts it, it is better to leave upkeep of Java to Oracle who is standardizing their whole Application suite on Java and are focused on Java.Fact that Steve Job was the best man at Larry's wedding was not the deciding factor here.

Hi everyone, I added the text as a comment to the image so you can read/copy it more easily.

Shucks, I did the transcript too above, at 4x zoom :-/

That will be $0.10, Sir!

Sorry, but all the performance talk on Java are bogus. There are UI issues in Look and Feel, Nd some great developers have developed applications that fell 100% native in Java and work very well.

Large part of the web servers and back-end apps run on Java, and no Java on Mac means no macs for many camps. As noted Apple's own web infrastructure is Java based. Facebook, built maybe the world's best performaning databae server in Java, that stores data for 200M+ daily users (500M+). Google runs large parts of their infrastructure on Java. I have seen benchmarks on number chrunching apps where Java beat C++ performance (this is due to JIT, which almost every JVM has today - some only enable in "server mode" though - means that the Java byte code runs as machine code for the exact processor being used at runtime), not true for all types of number crunching but for some.

Java is not a one size fits alls solution but there are a large number of application areas for Java and hundreds of programming languages that run on Java Virtual Machine platform.

No Java on Mac is an unlikely scenario for Apple, but time will tell...

I assume that I can still download the java src and compile/install it on OS X, correct?

I am a Mac user and had never even realized that Apple uses a special distro and Java.com does not offer a JRE/JDK/etc. download for OS X.

After Java is removed, how will Mac users run java apps? What will be the easiest way to get Java back on OS X?

You would still be able to run the Open JDK. There is a port for the Mac, but if I am not mistaken it uses the X Server and is not as well integrated with the graphics layer of OS X desktop. Example: http://landonf.bikemonkey.org/static/soylatte/

Java still exists on the MAC. There will be no future JDK updates though

AFAIK the code which makes the Swing UI use native OSX (Cocoa) instead of X is Apple proprietary. I wonder whether Apple will now give that to Oracle or release it as Open Source. Otherwise we're going to be stuck with X Server and ugly UIs for a long time :-(

Two thoughts:

First, with some quick Googling/Wikipedia-ing it seems that Java is released under the GPL. Wouldn't the viral nature of GPL make this code from Apple open source?

Second, if Apple cared enough to invest in building the code to make Swing seem native-OSX in the first place, one would assume they care enough to ensure that it stays available ongoing. Otherwise Java applications begin to drag down the 'desirability' of the OSX platform.

Wouldn't the viral nature of GPL make this code from Apple open source?

No. Apple's Java was based on code licensed from Sun long before Java was released under the GPL. Additionally, Sun's release of code owned by Sun under the GPL does not preclude Sun from licensing that same code under other terms if it so chooses. That's the basis of the dual-license model used by other projects like MySQL.

Good point. And I don't think classpath exception would apply here. I'd be interested to hear if someone has actually seen this source code "in the wild".

To those of you hand-wringing about whether or not Oracle will support Mac, if history is any guide, they may well do it. Oracle has always provided decent driver support for the Oracle database on a multitude of operating systems. When Apple switched to Intel, they released native OS X drivers. They have done this in spite of the fact that Macs have a small enterprise footprint. I see no reason why they would behave differently with Java. In fact, their own GUI front end to Oracle is written in Java, so if they want that to run on the Mac, they will need to do something.

It's great to hear that this was a practical consideration on Apple's part.

I hope that they ensure a smooth transition of the responsibility to Oracle and perhaps even hand over some of the existing work, if licensing permits it.

Ok... Now someone email Larry Ellison to see what response we get from him. :-)

Apple is a big WebObjects user. And WebObjects is 100% java based. This means that developers use Eclipse/WOLips/java to develop their WebObjects applications and java on the server to deploy.

There is also OpenJDK and it looks like that will be the route that developers will use to get java for OS X. This may actually be good. You will not have to rely on OS X releases to get java. The only thing that doesn't look good is Swing unless OpenJDK implements Swing using Cocoa instead of X11. :-)

I'm glad Apple is returning control of Java to Sun/Oracle. Java is the most widely used language in the world (http://www.devtopics.com/most-popular-programming-languages) and is great for most programming tasks, especially large projects. IMO Apple has done a sucky job of maintaining Java. Not surprising, since it isn't their business. Hopefully Sun/Oracle will do a much better job of releasing an JVM for Macintosh.

Could the guy's email signature be any longer?

Last sentence of Steve's reply: "This may not be the best way to do it" tells me that, there may be better way. I really hope that Snoracle will ship OSX distribution of Java.

Anyway, Java developers despite of being geeks, make a good PR for Apple. Just look at laptop covers on any given Java developer conferrence.

What worries me is that Steve did not confirm whether Oracle will be releasing Java on the Apple platform. He just says that Oracle supples Java for all other platforms - they have never done it for Apple. So there is still no commitment of Java support on Mac OS X.

Is this the way the big companies talk to each other? By getting some random email published?

I don't think apple and oracle had a dialog going here, because why would apple want to look like the bad guy?

So if Oracle says "we'll do this", then great. Oracle will be appreciated again.

It should be Oracle's focus to satisfy its customers. If a lot of Java devs work on Mac's then Oracle should make sure that all Mac's have the best java software available to them. This is not Apple's responsibility

Portico's stuff requires java 1.3 and is still AWT and based on 1.1. WTF do they care about java 1.6+


Oracle is truly the demise of Java. I mean look at what they are doing to Open Office.

Oracle's lawsuit against google was the last nail in the coffin for Java. If I were you, and was forced to using java code, I would definately either use gcj to compile directly to native object code, or use an oracle supported JVM.

Darn top poster.

TRWTF is that it took Jobs and Apple's thousands of employees how many years to notice this? Either that, or his answer is pure BS and has nothing to do with why Apple made this decision now.

Or, could it be that it was a delicate inter-company relationship and it took time (and Sun being acquired by Oracle) for this shift to take place?

Either that, or this is all a really highly orchestrated plan of Apple's to phase out official Java support completely after building up a Cocoa developer base. Are there any good numbers on Java desktop applications (aside from Java plugins) vs Java server applications these days? How big of an effect will dropping official "Apple" support complete with UI fancy-ness and some sorta Cocoa bridge? If we have to move to OpenJDK, will server apps really be burned all that much? What exactly is the big deal with having to switch to OpenJDK, anyway? I hear people complain about Apple being behind all the time with Java...isn't this ultimately what people wanted..an up to date Java distribution on OS X?

I wouldn't argue with the notion of Jobs being "delicate", that's for sure. And, apparently same goes with the feelings of the HN crowd toward all things Apple.

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