Could Oracle Save The Day With a Mac-Based Open JDK Stream?

What's The Solution For Deprecated Java?

Apple's decision to deprecate Java on the Mac and ban Java from their upcoming App Store, is even more confusing when you take into account just how popular the Mac is amongst the Java community.

Stefan Tilkov proposes a simple exercise for getting an overview of the Mac's popularity amongst Java devlopers: go to a Java conference and look how many attendees are toting around a Mac. "It's anything between 20 and 75%, with something as high as 90% among speakers," is his estimation. Michael Plöd agrees with him that "Java Developers love Macs," and estimates that 60-70% of his Java developer colleagues use Macs. Stefan Tilkov throws more figures into the pot, revealing that 40 of the 50 developers at innoQ are Mac OS X users, and predicts that, following this announcement, "it's likely none of them will be anymore two or three years from now."

So, why have Apple decided to leave this part of their customer base out in the cold? Michael Plöd views iOS and the SDK for iPhone and iPad as evidence that Apple favour Objective-C and Cocoa over Java, and have recently been supporting Java only halfheartedly.

Michael Plöd does see the potentional for Oracle to leverage this situation to their advantage, though.

Mac OS X Server is not a common solution for hosting Java EE applications, meaning that Oracle have little incentive to port Java SE to the Mac. However, Oracle could potentionally launch an Open JDK based development stream for Mac OS X. This would give Oracle's public image a much-needed boost - the Google lawsuit and poaching IBM from the Harmony project have done little to reassure the community as to Oracle's intentions when it comes to Java. For Michael Plöd, Java on the Mac can not only be salvaged, but it can be transformed into a win-win situation: "Oracle wins in popularity and states that they take Open JDK very serious; Apple wins by not loosing a growing amount of good customers buying their big machines; the Java Community wins by having a great new JDK that is at the pace of time with regards to new versions." Is a Mac-based Open JDK development stream a likely outcome of this news? Or are we about to see a whole lot less Macs at Java conferences?

Jessica Thornsby

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