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Back in October of 2010, Apple announced Java updates for OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard, but also noted that it would not continue to maintain its own runtime for Java.
Apple subsequently dropped Java from default installation in OS X Lion (below top), shifting its own development work on Java to the OpenJDK community. The company also changed how Java is installed on the Mac in order to facilitate the distribution of a third party Java runtime, which can be selected from OS X's Java Preferences (below bottom).
At the same time, Apple has made it clear that it doesn't see Java as contributing to consumer desktop Mac software, putting it alongside its own deprecated PowerPC Rosetta translator as being among the "deprecated or optionally installed technologies" that software can't make any use of if it is to be listed in the Mac App Store.
Oracle takes over Java for Mac
Oracle has worked with the OpenJDK community over the last year to complete the release of its own Java platform, ultimately releasing "Java Platform, Standard Edition 7 Update 4" (Java SE 7 Update 4) and JavaFX 2.1.
Oracle noted that the "OpenJDK Community continues to host the development of Java SE 7 on Mac OS X and JDK 8, the prototype reference implementation of Java SE 8. Oracle has also started the OpenJFX project as part of its plan to open source the JavaFX platform."
Apple's own version of Java only supported the earlier Java SE 6 specification. It also failed to incorporate the latest bug fixes and security changes Oracle had been releasing. This enabled malware writers to target the optional install of Java for Mac with attacks that targeted known exploits in the older software.
While Apple has since patched its own Java runtime, Oracle's newer release of its own Java runtime and tools will give developers an option they haven't had before. JavaFX 2.1 is now available for both Windows and Macs, with a developer preview available for Linux.
Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java Products, said in a press release, âOracle has aggressive plans for Java over the next few years and we are continuing to drive technical advancements across the platform. At JavaOne in 2011, we outlined our long-term roadmap for Java SE and JavaFX and we are working closely with the Java community to meet our development milestones.
"With the upcoming Mac OS X port, we look forward to delivering simultaneous releases of the JRE across all major operating systems later this year, so all Java users will be able to take advantage of the latest features and security fixes.â