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Java and Mac OS X: it's all about priorities

To most users Mac OS X is a desktop operating system. It has Unix under the hood, but the most important part that distinguishes Darwin (the FreeBSD variant) from Mac OS X is the user interface and the applications one can build by using libraries such as Cocoa and others.

Now apparently Apple has done a number of improvements for the Java 5 VM and JDK libraries to allow Java developers to write equally compelling desktop applications in their language of choice. That makes sense and is a good thing.

Server side Java developers and people interested in the bleeding edge can always use tools like Parallels or VMware Fusion to run another operating system (Windows, Linux or Solaris) to get access to the latest Java VM whether it is experimental or short after Sun releases a first production version. So it's not a matter of whether Java gets abandoned by Apple or not. It's simply a matter of where the priorities are. To a desktop application developer it's more important that his applications can be run on a solid and well equipped environment. Apparently Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) is such an environment. I've always been happy with its predecessor Tiger (10.4) and I don't feel a big urge to use the Java 6 VM. For a current server side project I need to use Java 6 and I do that with Ubuntu Linux running on VMware Fusion. There I have the Sun Java 6 VM. It's a huge difference and I would love to keep working on OS X as I don't have to restart Eclipse so frequently.