Jeff Mesnil
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Mac OS X on X86: what will it mean for Java?

June 7, 2005

So now that the news is official that Apple will move its laptops to Intel X86 architecture, I'm wondering what it means for Java. I'm neither a hardware guy nor an OS one but if the architecture is based on X86 and the OS on an UNIX kernel, what are the implications for Java? Will it be simpler for Apple to develop their own JVM? Can they leverage Open Source projects (no, I'm not talking about Harmony!)?

My hope is that there will be less lag between Sun JVMs on Wintel and Linux and Apple one. However, since Apple seems committed to support both PowerPC and X86 architectures, will they accept to have two different versions of Java (the X86 one following closely Sun ones and the PowerPC one still lagging a few months behind)? Or will they keep only one version and, unfortunately but realistically, the older one? Java was much heralded by Steve Jobs when Apple released Mac OS X but it has never really become a first-class citizen for application development. Now with the move to Intel and the continuing support for PowerPC, it may renew the interest of developers.

That and the availability of SWT for Cocoa would mean a new age for Java application development on Apple boxes...