As I discussed in my recent blog post, Oracle and Apple have reached an agreement that ensures the continuation of Java on the Mac. In essence, Apple are going to drop the majority, if not all, of their code into an OpenJDK project, and this will allow Oracle to supply future versions of Java on Mac OS X.
There are a couple of interesting elements to this statement. First, while Apple is described as a major contributor to OpenJDK, it doesn’t appear that this extends much beyond a substantial code drop. There’s not much indication that Apple will be an active participant in OpenJDK, unlike IBM. In fact, Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, says in the statement that “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.” Not from the community, but from Oracle. To say, as Hasan Rizvi of Oracle does, that “the project now has the backing of three of the biggest names in software” seems something of an overstatement. I expect Apple’s ongoing contributions to be minimal.
Secondly, the conversation is around Java SE 7, and it is confirmed that Apple will deliver Java SE 6 on Mac OS X Lion. This is good news, and while it appears from the release that Java SE 7 might be something of a laggard on Mac OS X, at least we have a secure future now. As I said before, I’m not sure this was a terribly pressing matter in the first place, but it’s good to have it sorted.