Recently, Apple informed that they will be deprecating the JDK in Mac OS X 10.7, code named Lion. With the history of Apple being indifferent towards Java as a platform (for example, not supporting Java on their i Platforms – iPhone, iPad), this is not a suprise move. To quote from the Apple release notes,
As of version 10.6 Update 3 of the version of Java that is ported to Apple (and consequently ships with Mac OS X) is deprecated. Apple’s port will not be maintained, and may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X. The Java runtime that ships with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained.
A significant portion of Java development commmunity have been using Apple based products, and the JDK maintained by Apple supported the growth of this community. However, with Apple backing off their support in future Mac OS versions, this community will need to have another alternative coming up, hopefully, from the (now Oracle + IBM backed) OpenJDK movement.
As I see this, from Apple’s perspective, this is a “nothing personal, it’s just business” situation. With the success of Apple’s i Platform, what I see in this move is that they are attempting to bring in the i Platform based development into the arena of desktops and notebooks, so that they could expand their business on development platforms as well. May be someday in the near future, we might be able to witness the dawn of another development toolkit from Apple (probably based on the i Platform), competing with Java and .NET platforms.
Personally, I believe that the Java community will work out a solution to keep the Java platform running on Mac based products, but certainly, this will not have the same momentum as it had so far.
Note : Just to avoid confusion, the ‘i Platform’ that I refer to in this blog entry merely stands to represent the platform which is the basis for iPhone and iPad products.