Programming

Java 6 On Mac—Worst Release Ever (And What’s New!)

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When Apple finally released Java 6 for Mac OS 10.5.2, the Java community was more than a little upset.

  • Java 6 only supports 64 Bit on Mac
  • No Cocoa Support
  • What to Do About Java 6 on Mac
  • Using Java on Mac in 2022
  • What’s Changed Since Java 6
  • Where is Java on Mac Headed?

The history of Java releases on Mac has been more than a little problematic. New updates for Java always find their way to Mac a few years too late and they are often more limited than their Linux and Windows counterparts.

Let’s see how Java 6 on Mac stacked up and take a look at the latest Java release for mac and see how it compares.

Java 6 on Mac Only Supports 64 Bit

This means that Java 6 doesn’t run on 1-year-old MacBooks or all early adopters of the Intel switch. A huge amount of people can’t run 64-bit. Java 6 on Mac requires much more specific technology than Java 6 did on any of its counterparts. 

We tend to have a lot of opinions about how to code differently with Java, but we can all agree that Java 6 didn’t really work for Mac.

Another problem is that it only supports 64-bit applications, Bye-bye applets in Safari.

These are huge setbacks for people who were looking forward to Java on Mac, but the problems didn’t stop here. 

No Cocoa Support

Because of the lack of 64-bit libraries for cocoa, it is not possible to use cocoa with Java 6. Nearly every Java application on Macs uses cocoa to make it look better on Mac OS. Some even are 100% cocoa, like Cyberduck. Because of that, only a small percentage of Java applications can run on Java 6.

Java 6 really needed more Mac-specific support in order to function like it did on Windows or Linux. In fact, you have a better chance of performance tuning Java on Linux than you did on a Mac. 

Apple Knows This

Apple is well aware of these problems. The update doesn’t make Java 6 the default VM. Apple’s preferences dialog even warns you if you want to make it the default VM. 

Having Apple and Java clash like this only made things more difficult for people working with Java on a Mac. 

So, What To Do Now?

Options were limited for working with Java 6 on Mac. What made Java 6 on Mac even worse was the lack of any good workarounds or alternatives. You either had to commit to a limited system or try something a little involved. 

These are your options. We only have three choices from here:

  • Switch back to Windows / Linux for Java development
  • Use SoyLatte and help them to create the native GUI pipeline
  • Ask Apple to fix these issues

In the long term, no. 2 would be the best. A Java implementation by a large community would have faster release times. We can’t wait for Apple to fix these issues—we have to do it ourselves. Getting Java 6 to turn on Mac requires some pretty advanced Java tutorials

Now, let’s take a look at what’s changed since Java 6. 

Using Java on Mac in 2022

In terms of running Java on Mac, so much has changed since Java 6. In fact, it would be just a few years until the release of Java 7 things completely changed for working with Java and working on an Apple computer.

We’re going to take a look at some of these specific changes and just see how the landscape of using Java on a Mac has changed from Java 6 all the way to Java 17. Using Java has only gotten more developed as the years have gone by. 

After all, becoming a Java developer starts with getting Java running on your Mac! 

What’s Changed Since Java 6 on Mac

If you were trying to use Java on Mac since Java 6, you were up against a lot of trouble. You’d have to either settle for a Java that didn’t perform nearly as well as it did online up to your PC or go through a bunch of complicated workarounds and still be stuck without all the features.

What’s important to keep in mind is that Java is more important today than it’s ever been. While you might hear some people saying that Java is on the way out, Java still has plenty of use and pops up everything from popular applications, to websites, and it is a highly preferred language for programmers the world over. 

Java Becomes Mac Native 

All the DIY fixes in the world couldn’t get us ahead for making Java work on Mac. However, things would have quickly changed with the release of Java 7.

Starting with Java 7, Java releases work with Apple technology as long as the systems are compatible. You can run compatible editions of Java with your Mac laptop or computer. It all depends on whether or not the specs of your Mac match up with the edition of Java you want to run. 

Here’s where to start to find some familiar limitations for using Java on a Mac. 

There are Still Limitations (Java, Intel, and Mac) 

Even though Java runs on Mac after Java 7, there are still some problems with trying to get Java to run on Apple’s technology. If you’re looking for the best toolkits, tips, and tricks for Java, you’re going to need to get it running first! Despite all the advances that are made, you’re still going to encounter a few problems with trying to get Java to run on a Mac.

The first thing that we have to talk about is that Java is designed to work with the Intel processor versions of Mac. Now that Mac is coming out with their own processor chips, we’re seeing compatibility issues with Java and plenty of other technology that people rely on. 

Apple’s desire to keep everything proprietary and stay in a closed sandbox is definitely costing them when it comes to reliably working with some of today’s most popular technology.

There are also issues when it comes to which Mac operating system you’re using. There’s a good chance that your Java version might not be compatible with the Mac computer that you’re working with depending on the operating system that that Mac runs.

Where Things Are Headed for Java on Mac

There is good news for the future though. 

As Apple’s processor technology becomes more popular, more software is going to become compatible. Java is likely to follow suit with Adobe and plenty of others working to find ways to work with Mac’s M1 processors. 



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