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Apple Backs Java Under Oracle

Java on the Mac will continue, much to the relief of Java developers.

Moving to calm developers shaken by Apple's announcement that Java may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X, Apple and Oracle made it clear that while Apple won't be implementing Java in its operating system, Java will continue to be available on the Mac.

Apple and Oracle on Friday said that Apple will contribute code for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X through the OpenJDK project.

“We’re delighted to be working with Oracle to insure that there continues to be a great version of Java on the Mac,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, in a statement. “The best way for our users to always have the most up to date and secure version of Java will be to get it directly from Oracle.”

In an Oracle blog post, Henrik Stahl, head of product strategy in Oracle's Java Platform Group, offered a limited apology for the silence that followed Apple's Java deprecation announcement last month.

"I understand that the uncertainty since Apple's widely circulated 'deprecation' of Java has been frustrating, but due to the nature of these things we have neither wanted to or been able to communicate before," he said. "That is as it is, I'm afraid."

Java creator and former Sun employee James Gosling, who has been critical of Oracle's handling of Java since it acquired Sun, characterized the news as " incredibly encouraging," and said that the major questions now are when will the next Java make it to the Mac and whether Oracle will be able to update Java through Apple's Software Update mechanism.

Sadly, it appears that Apple's ties with Oracle won't result in the deployment of extra engineering resources to assure that the next version of Java ready when Apple ships Mac OS X 10.7.

"My expectation is that [Oracle] will release on current supported platforms first, and that OS X support will follow later," said Stahl. "The JDK 7 schedule can not easily accommodate large changes like the addition of a new platform."

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