Worried about Apple’s recent deprecation of Java under OS X, ending Apple’s own line of custom Java packages? Don’t be: Apple and Oracle have just announced that they will be partnering to bring the OpenJDK project to OS X, guaranteeing the continued support of Java on OS X.
Essentially, what the OpenJDK announcement seems to be outlining is a way for Cupertino to pass the torch of Java development under OS X to Oracle. Apple will continue to support Java SE 6 under Snow Leopard and the forthcoming OS X 10.7 Lion, but once Java SE 7 comes out, Java will instead be Oracle’s responsibility to both build and distribute.
According to the announcement, Apple will hand off Java development by contributing “most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client” to OpenJDK, which will further be enhanceable by open source developers.
In other words, Steve Jobs was telling the truth: Java on OS X isn’t dead. If anything, it should be more stable and feature-rich than it ever has been before, once it’s in the hands of the right curators: Oracle and the open source developer community.