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Apple readies final in-house Java updates ahead of Oracle handoff

Apple on Friday released previews of the final two custom-built Java runtime updates for OS X before the company hands over all responsibility to Oracle.

The updates, titled "Java for OS X 2012-004" and "Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 9," are to be the last Apple-tailored runtimes for OS X 10.6 and 10.7 before all Mac-centric Java development moves to Oracle.

Apple dropped Java from the default installation of OS X 10.7 Lion after the company announced in 2010 that it would deprecate the software's release for the Mac platform.

In April, Oracle announced the availability of its own Java development kit and JavaFX SDK for Mac users after working on the software with the OpenJDK Community.

Most recently, a Java SE 6 exploit caused the largest malware dissemination in Mac history. The Flashback trojan was said to have affected over 600,000 Macs worldwide, mining sensitive data that reportedly netted the malicious code's authors as much as $10,000 a day.

In response to Flashback, Apple had to quickly push out a number of updates as well as a dedicated removal tool.

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The final Apple-supported updates will offer compatibility with future Java implementations and will include the feature of disabling the web component after 35 days of non-usage.

From the preview notes:

Java SE 6 applets and Web Start disable after non-use

This preview contains a stub applet plug-in and a modified Web Start launcher for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. This technology disables these Java web components after an extended duration of non-use (35 days). This policy is already present in "Java for OS X 2012-003" for OS X 10.7 Lion.

Oracle's Java 7 applet plug-in disables Java SE 6 applets and Web Start

This preview contains additional enhancements to the OS X Java integration features to disable or redirect functionality to Oracle's Java 7 applet plug-in, if present. This includes deactivating most panels in Java Preferences, routing .jnlp file launching to the Oracle Java 7 Web Start launcher, and .jar file launching to the plug-in embedded JRE.

There has been no official word on when the updates will arrive for public consumption, but with Oracle ready to take over the rollout may happen soon.