A joint press release from Oracle and Apple on Friday cleared up the angst over the future role of Java on Mac OS. The OpenJDK project will handle the release and Apple will do the heavy lifting on the "key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X," the release said.
Apple's bits will include 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.
"We are excited to welcome Apple as a significant contributor in the growing OpenJDK community," said Hasan Rizvi, Oracle's senior vice president of Development. "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. Combined with last month's announcement of IBM joining the OpenJDK, the project now has the backing of three of the biggest names in software."
"We're delighted to be working with Oracle to insure that there continues to be a great version of Java on the Mac," said Bertrand Serlet, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering. "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 also confirmed 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.
Henrik Stahl, product strategist for the Java Platform Group, wrote on his blog that talks between the companies had been going on for "some time."
I understand that the uncertainty since Apple's widely circulated "deprecation" of Java has been frustrating, but due to the nature of these things we have neither wanted to or been able to communicate before. That is as it is, I'm afraid.
Stahl's expectation is that the release of JDK 7 will start with "current supported platforms" followed by Mac OS X. "The JDK 7 schedule can not easily accommodate large changes like the addition of a new platform," he wrote.
In addition, he didn't comment on the timing of the release, nor whether subsequent releases would be simultaneous with other platforms.