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10/21/2010
02:51 PM
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Apple Digs Grave For DVDs, Java

By leaving legacy technologies behind, Apple aims to strengthen its hand.

Apple also made it clear that it isn't fond of Java. The company's newly issued guidelines for submitting Mac OS apps for inclusion in the Mac App Store state: "Apps that use deprecated or optionally installed technologies (e.g., Java, Rosetta) will be rejected." A deprecated technology is one that's being phased out.

To underscore the fact that Java is "deprecated" rather than "optionally installed," Apple's developer notes spell it out: "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. This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. ..."

Apple's objection to Java is likely to be similar to its objection to Adobe's Flash. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs put it in April, "We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform."

Flash and Java are both third party software layers, layers that Apple doesn't control. Discouraging their use is Apple's way of solidifying its control of its platform. Apple's move against Java may also reflect wariness about Java's future under Oracle, which recently sued Google over its use of Java.

In a post to a Java discussion group, Carl Jokl, a Java developer at Keynetix and researcher at the University of Bradford in the U.K., said he was annoyed that Apple is being allowed to get away with dropping Java and likened the situation to the world of 1984, evoked by Orwell and Apple, in its famous commercial.

"Apple's developer world is 1984 hell with Big Brother Steve watching over your shoulder, 'To ensure quality of software,'" he wrote. "That will be the reason given but not the whole story."

"What is wrong with the world!" he continues. "When did 'write once, run anywhere' turn into 'fragment to the max'? [A reference to Jobs's recent disparagement of Java-based Android as fragmented] Perhaps things will go full circle again. Once we are back to having to develop for each OS individually then maybe it will occur to people why technologies like Java were good in the first place."

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