Apple and Oracle Partner for OpenJDK for Mac OS X

Apple (s aapl) and Oracle (s orcl) are working together to bring the OpenJDK project to Mac OS X. This will ensure the continued presence of Java on the Mac platform. The news comes on the heels of a revelation last month that Apple will no longer be providing its own line of custom Java packages, which many, us included, took to indicate the end of Java support in OS X altogether.

According to a press release issued today by Apple and Oracle, the OpenJDK project will see the two companies work together to ensure continued support of Java on OS X, which is great news for developers working in the programming language. The role of the two partners is described as follows:

Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client. OpenJDK will make Apple’s Java technology available to open source developers so they can access and contribute to the effort.

Apple went on to confirm that Java SE 6 will indeed continue to be available from Apple for Snow Leopard and the upcoming OS X Lion 10.7, but Java SE 7 and beyond for OS X will instead be available direct from Oracle. Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, claims that’s “[t]he best way for our users to always have the most up to date and secure version of Java.”

Steve Jobs hinted at a switch to this kind of distribution method in an email response to a concerned Java developer back in October of this year. He noted that since Apple’s release schedule is always a version behind Oracle’s, a new method might be a better option. The new partnership introduces that new method, with Oracle stepping in to provide the most current version to Mac users.

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