Steve Jobs Speaks Out on Java’s Fate in Future Mac OS X Versions

Mac OS X Java Preferences

Developers were up in arms on Thursday when Apple posted documentation indicating that Java won’t have a place in future versions of Mac OS X. One such developer pinged CEO Steve Jobs for a response on the matter.

MacRumors is reporting that the future for Java on the Mac OS X platform looks shaky indeed, following developer documentation released by Apple on Thursday that appears to spell doom for future development of Java for the Mac.

“As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the version of Java that is ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X, is deprecated,” the Apple documentation reads. “This means that the Apple-produced runtime will not be maintained at the same level, and may be removed from 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.”

Note that the wording is somewhat cautious — Apple says that their Java runtime “may” be removed, not that it absolutely will be. In any event, it appears that Cupertino feels that Java’s time has come and gone and they’ll be phasing it out over time.

A Java developer from Portico Systems took his concerns about the matter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself, inquiring further about the company’s future plans and posted the reply to his Flickr account.

“Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms,” Jobs replied. “They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it.”

Jobs’ own reply would seem to indicate that Apple may be counting on Oracle to step up and fill the void left by Cupertino, but there’s no public word yet that such a move is in the Java maker’s plans.

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