Apple quietly deprecates OS X's factory-fitted Java

In an announcement on, Apple states that "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." It now seems likely that OS X 10.7 will not have a Java install built into the OS, although the current runtime will continue to be supported during the regular support cycles for Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6.

This is not all that surprising. In the early days of OS X, Apple was keen on Java, supporting it as a full-fledged alternative to Objective C for application development. Over the years, though, its enthusiasm waned; we saw longer and longer gaps between updates and an official discontinuation of the Java-Cocoa bridge in 2006. Client-side Java on OS X has been effectively moribund for a long time now (with one standout exception in recent times). Update: commenter David Emery quite rightly points out that NeoOffice is significant too.

Server-side Java on OS X, however, is a small but non-zero market. Currently, Oracle (which acquired Java developer Sun in 2009) offers Java installations for Windows, Linux, and Solaris; it remains to be seen if it or one of the handful of third-parties offering JVMs (like IBM) will step up and ship an OS X version of their product. There are also open source implementations that flesh out the not-quite-complete OpenJDK distribution to make it fully usable and Java SE 6 compliant, like IcedTea; none of those yet exist as packages for Mac OS X, but that could certainly change.

Thanks to Hendrik Schreiber for sending this in.

This article was originally published on Tuaw.