Monday, January 23, 2012

Java under Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

Lion is the first version of Mac OS X that doesn't come with Java already installed. Earlier versions not only had the Java Virtual Machine or runtime element installed, but they also had the JDK installed, which is the part that lets you write your own Java programs.

Once, Java was an important part of Apple's strategy. They maintained their own version of Java for the Mac and encouraged its use by developers every bit as much as they encouraged the use of Objective-C.

The success of the iPhone and the iPad have changed that, however. Apple decided that Java would not be part of those platforms. The lack of Java is the very reason I've chosen not to get an iPhone. Instead, I get phones with Java so that I can run my own Java applications that I write for my own use.

Now that Lion doesn't have Java pre-installed, what do you do? Fortunately, a deal has been struck where Java is still available for the Mac. It's much the same arrangement as Java for other platforms. In fact, it's easier to install Java on your Mac than any other platform. And you get the JDK along with the runtime (JVM) environment.

Simply use Finder to go to Applications=>Utilities. There, start Terminal. Once Terminal starts, type in the command 'javac'. Your Mac will tell you that Java isn't installed, and let you install it.

I'm pleased that the Mac has not entirely forsaken Java, even if it's not an integral part as it has been. The basic software supplied with the Mac has declined severely over the past few years, but fortunately Java is still available and easy to install when you want it.