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Apple deprecates Java support for Mac OS

By James Denman

Last week Apple disclosed that the company would deprecate Java support as of Mac OS X 10.6 update 3:

Java Deprecation
As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the Java runtime ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X is deprecated. Developers should not rely on the Apple-supplied Java runtime being present in future versions of Mac OS X.

The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products.”

What this appears to mean is that future versions of Mac OS X – starting with Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) which is scheduled for release next summer – will not come packaged with Java. Java support for Leopard and Snow Leopard will continue for a while. Moving forward, Mac users who decide to run Java will have to download the latest version of the software from a third-party source. Apple is not banning Java from use on any of their hardware.

Because Apple does not allow apps that are built on deprecated or third-party technologies (like Java or Flash) to be sold on the App Store web site – or on the upcoming Mac App Store – it seems likely that Mac users will have to find those apps through third-party sources as well. So Java won’t disappear from the Mac system completely, but it will be harder to find.

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