Apple has become a contributor to OpenJDK, Oracle's implementation of Java.
On Friday, the two companies announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X, which will see Apple contribute a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and "the foundation for a new graphical client" for an Apple-friendly implementation of Java SE7.
"We are excited to welcome Apple as a significant contributor in the growing OpenJDK community," Oracle development chief Hasan Rizvi said in a statement. "The availability of Java on Mac OS X plays a key role in the cross-platform promise of the Java platform. The Java developer community can rest assured that the leading edge Java environment will continue to be available on Mac OS X in the future."
In late October, Apple said it was 'deprecating' Java, meaning it would not maintain it at the level it previously had, and added that Java "may be removed from future versions of Mac OS X". Friday's announcement stated that Java SE 6 "will continue to be available from Apple for Mac OS X Snow Leopard and the upcoming release of Mac OS X Lion".
"Java SE 7 and future versions of Java for Mac OS X will be available from Oracle," the statement added, with Apple software engineering chief Bertrand Serlet noting 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".
Apple is the second major technology company to back OpenJDK after IBM did the same one month ago. In doing so, IBM abandoned the rival Apache Harmony project, a move it ascribed to Oracle's refusal to allow Harmony to be certified. The Apache Software Foundation said earlier this week that it may leave the Oracle-led Java Community Process (JCP) over the same issue, which it says shows Oracle to be "violating their contractual obligation".