10.22.10

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Apple — Like Microsoft — Compromises the Future of Java

Posted in Apple, Java, Microsoft, Oracle at 1:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee beans

Summary: Apple is discontinuing Java in Mac OS X despite the inter-personal connection with Oracle

Oracle and Apple are unlikely to ever sue each other over patents because of the relationship between Jobs and Ellison [1, 2, 3]. It is hard to figure out why Apple seemingly phases out Java then, as claimed on a speculative basis in several places like this one: [via]

Scant months since beginning a public spat with Adobe over its decision not to support Flash on iOS devices, Apple now also appears ready to abandon Java in Mac OS X.

If true, what might Apple be trying to achieve? It’s not about patents, is it? To Apple, removal of Adobe Trash (at least temporarily, until antitrust scrutiny) was arguably a matter of control.

As people may already know, Apple benefits from Oracle’s lawsuit against Android/Google, which is a lawsuit over Java patents. The Economist has this new article titled “The great patent battle” and it’s about the many patent battles in the mobile arena:

Hardly a week passes without a new case. Motorola sued Apple this month, having itself been sued by Microsoft a few days earlier. Since 2006 the number of mobile-phone-related patent complaints has increased by 20% annually, according to Lex Machina, a firm that keeps a database of intellectual-property spats in America.

Most suits were filed by patent owners who hail from another industry, such as Kodak (a firm from a bygone era that now makes printers), or by patent trolls (firms that buy patents not in order to make products, but to sue others for allegedly infringing them). But in recent months the makers of handsets and related software themselves have become much more litigious, reports Joshua Walker, the boss of Lex Machina.

Could patents have anything at all with Apple’s treatment of Java (assuming those rumours bear substance)? That seems unlikely. Either way, Microsoft too has been attacking Java with FUD recently.

Postscript: at the time of publishing it turns out the speculations are true as Apple “threatens Java” by deprecating its release and Steve Jobs talks about it.

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13 Comments

  1. NotZed said,

    October 22, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Gravatar

    It is not about patents.

    It is about platform control.

    They, like M$, don’t want anybody working with cross-platform tools. They both want to lock developers into their own platform for native applications, and non-native stuff on a browser.

    With their latest netbook and their application shop they will no doubt be pushing only native applications, and they probably don’t want anyone using Java and letting it run elsewhere. Just one more step toward turning a general purpose computer into a locked-down appliance.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    But do we have strong evidence to show this?

    dyfet Reply:

    Certainly the OS/X App store developer agreement that was leaked makes this clear. I completely agree with NZ’s analysis. Microsoft does not (yet) have that level of platform control outside of the ex-box (as in, if you have one, it is best to make it an ex ;) though they have also worked hard to kill off or otherwise either control or limit cross-platform technologies. I of course include mono in that statement (as in control and limit…), as well as things like of course OpenGL (in the kill off part…).

  2. Agent_Smith said,

    October 22, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Gravatar

    How come ? The crApple Steve is friends with Lawsuit Larry ??? Backstabbing, after all Oracle has done for SteveJ(dropping roadblocks in Android’s path). Can’t trust anyone in the mobile scene these days…

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    It is a lucrative and ever-expanding market.

  3. TemporalBeing said,

    October 22, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s time for Java to go. Period. Across all platforms.

    Seriously, Apple has decided they are no longer going to put the effort into maintaining the JVM for MacOSX. It could be the Oracle has decided to do it for them since (as has been pointed out by others) Apple has only stated that they are no longer going to do the work themselves, and that the JVM they are providing is being deprecated, no word on what will replace it – could be the Sun/Oracle JVM is already on MacOSX. Just saying there is likely more to come on this one, and more research on JVMs under MacOSX is needed before sensationalism, which the press in general seems to like to take on this one.

    That said, I still go with my original statement at the start – Java needs to go.

    dyfet Reply:

    I agree that the science in computer science has been on the decline ever since the dropping of the mother tongue of true lisp, and I never was particularly moved by the Java fad, but I am curious why you say it “needs” to go.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    What do you suggest using for OOP-based cross-platform desktop/server applications? Python? C++?

    Many courses and enterprises depend heavily on Java already.

    TemporalBeing Reply:

    Java has no place in the enterprise despite many using it; and while Python is a step better, I would use it either.

    When you want to get down to it, C++ couple with toolkits like Qt (or Gtk, WxWidgets, or possibly just the Boost libraries for that matter) provides all you need to do cross-platform development.

    Add the Xerces XML parser and can add the XML stuff as well. It’s really not that hard to do; and yes you can make code that is just (or even more) maintainable.

    You don’t belong pushing stuff (like JARs – or ActiveX for that matter) over the Internet to web-client systems. If you need to do that, then your program architecture is just plain broken.

    Use the proper technologies for the job, of which Java is pretty much never the answer.

    Instead, many teach Java in academics only to make the programmers basically idiots that are useless outside of the academic world. We need students that actually understand the lower level stuff – C and C++ should be primers for a good Software Engineering/Computer Science education.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    GTK is great for working with visual objects, but an object-oriented framework like Java is still a lot easier for people to whom programming is a secondary thing (e.g. people of physics or EE). I think there is room for both. Some people whom I worked with couldn’t handle programming beyond something like MATLAB because they were mathematicians. There’s room for all those things. To dictate just one way it to be nut (Steve) Jobs. ;-)

    dyfet Reply:

    Freedom is NOT dictating what tools people must use or not use, but rather to better enable people to responsibly make these choices for themselves. Freedom is responsibility.

    TemporalBeing Reply:

    @dyfet

    Did I say anything about dictating? No. In now way does what I said impede ones Freedom. I am merely suggesting that one tool is extremely overused, and for the most part really needs to go away – be recycled.

    Apple is also free to stop maintaining their JVM, and you are free to continue maintaining a JVM on the Apple platform, so is Oracle for that matter.

    @Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    While I agree with you about the limitation of peoples skills, I also stand by what I said – Java needs to go away; there are better tools for the job and for those people to use. I’d say the same thing about .Net and Visual Basic. There are simply better tools – Python being one of them, and you don’t have to be any smarter to use Python than you do to use Java. There’s a lot of people in the scientific fields that program for the SAS database using SAS’s scripting engine; Python is far simpler – so is C Preprocessor for that matter.

    Instead of encouraging the wrong tools for the job – whether VBA in Excel or Java – let’s encourage the right tools, and tools that actually carry freedom with them (which Java does not).

    twitter Reply:

    A better question might be, “who needs cross-platform development”? GNU/Linux runs on all the hardware you might need and has several excellent OO frameworks like GNUStep’s objective C. There is hardly any free software available on one GNU/Linux distro that’s not on all of the others and there’s a great deal of sharing between GNU/Linux and BSD. In a free world, “cross-platform” becomes meaningless and java is just another tool that will be used on demand.

    Another thing that’s notable here is that Job’s declaration that java is dead on OSX simply because he says it is. I agree with NotZed that this is an act of hubris and control. Microsoft dreamed of ruining java on Windows and was sued for it. Recently, Microsoft has been FUDing up java “security” which is always a good sign the company wants to kill something. Thank you Roy, for connecting the dots and condeming an example of the downside of non free software – the platform owner can kill all your toys.

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