JDK / Java 7 on Mac OS X Lion - An Interesting Business Opportunity

[This post is obsolete. See JDK 1.7 Mac OS X Developer Preview Download And Smoke Test]

Would you pay for JDK 7 on Mac OS X?

Mac OS X users are spending money for useful tools, editors and productivity extensions. Spending 20-50$ for a nice, easy to install JDK 7 port is a compelling idea (with several hundred thousands potential customers). The business model would be very similar to Linux-distributions. A JDK 1.7 port could be even integrated into the Mac OS X Lion app store with auto-update functionality. So, where is the startup?

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No, I would not purchase a kit to develop on Mac OS X. I would only spend money on a platform I wished to target someday. One reason I liked Mac OS X was because they played nice with Java. Not having that reason any longer, I'm looking at the possibility of converting my MacBook Pro to Ubuntu. I know, it's got flaky behavior in the GUI, but I will put up with quite a bit to rid myself of Apple. Also, no longer will I spend one more cent on any kind of device, software, or service from Apple. My next phone will run Android.

Posted by Jon on October 25, 2010 at 10:41 PM CEST #

Can I prepay?!

Posted by Andrew Gilmartin on October 25, 2010 at 10:49 PM CEST #


also a viable option - Ubuntu is really nice.

I'm actually a happy Mac user - it works fine for me. The easiest possible option to me would be to buy a JDK 1.7 :-). It is a lot cheaper, than reinstall everything on Ubuntu...

I just don't like to tinker with the environment any more. One of the reasons, why I prefer NetBeans over Eclipse :-),

thanks for sharing your opinion!,


Posted by adam-bien.com on October 25, 2010 at 10:50 PM CEST #

Jon, I assume you earn somewhere between $80-$120K/year. Use a $1200-$2400 development box. You are quibbling with paying $100 -- less than 0.1% of your income or %10 of your hardware costs -- for the primary tool of your livelihood.

Posted by Andrew Gilmartin on October 25, 2010 at 10:57 PM CEST #

I would pay for it - dont want to miss my mac while developing java apps for enterprise and mobile world

Posted by ekke on October 25, 2010 at 11:19 PM CEST #

I am missing the point. How is the "The business model would be very similar to Linux-distributions"? So far I do not have to pay anything on Linux including Java Upgrades. In addtion I can run .NET tools on Linux at no cost including Silverlight. Not to mention Adobe etc. Is Oracle moving in this direction on Linux I'll switch to .NET or PHP.

Posted by priate on October 26, 2010 at 01:31 AM CEST #


I actually bought several packaged RedHat and Suse distributions for my server in the past. Although Linux is freely available, a pre-packaged distribution for tested configuration saved me a lot of time and so did pay off.

The same could work for JDK. My point is: either save time and spend some money or save money and tinker a bit.

Oracle's JDK port for Mac OS X for free would be the best solution of course.

Posted by adam-bien.com on October 26, 2010 at 01:38 AM CEST #


I recommend you last openSUSE + KDE 4.5, it is beautiful and powerful, java runs like a charm, KDE desktop is more powerful than Mac desktop and of course more powerful than Windows, and a lot more powerful than Gnome.

I don't like the idea of buying Mac JDK, but maybe if there are two JDK distro. one payable and supported, and another not supported that you could download&install your self.

I hate how Apple is limiting their users, it getting worst than Microsoft.


Posted by Xavier on October 26, 2010 at 04:50 AM CEST #

OMG, this brings to mind sad visions of OS/2...

Posted by Samuel Audet on October 26, 2010 at 05:47 AM CEST #

Good Idea, someone tried this already : http://www.jkoala.org/

Although I am not sure it will comply to the Mac App Store Guidelines : http://developer.apple.com/appstore/mac/resources/approval/guidelines.html

In Particular :
2.16 Apps that download or install additional code or resources to add functionality or change their primary purpose will be rejected

2.17 Apps that download other standalone apps will be rejected

2.23 Apps that spawn processes that continue to run after a user has quit the app without user consent will be rejected

and probably many others


Posted by Sébastien Stormacq on October 26, 2010 at 11:29 AM CEST #

"pay for JDK 7 on Mac OS X?"

Hm, that depends ...
As a home user, I might get used to the idea. Why not pay for something that provides added value.

As a developer? Well, I would say that depends (not only) on the license. Also it would be a little bit awkward for me why I should pay for Java on Mac when Java everywhere else is "free". And too, as a developer (and ISV) I appreciate very much the idea of "write once, run everywhere". Actually, this idea would be abandoned. I think, it would be no favor to the java platform if it becomes "ubiquitious - only *if my users* pay for it". Maybe this is OK for business users, where the ISV might bundle the redistributable runtime with his software in an "all-in package" that is installed by the ISV. For home users or non-company-wide business users who "just need that specific tool that needs a VM" it would be not good having to pay money for the runtime on Mac.

In short: In my opinion it would be the best for the Java platform and the users if Oracle would provide a standard JDK for Mac OS just like for the other OSes. *Users* do not understand why there should be a difference - and they do not care.

Posted by Robert Rohm on October 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM CEST #

I switched to OS/X to get a stable Java development environment.

My applications run often on Linux so having a Unix based desktop system like OS/X was also a bonus.

One year later, Apple announce it won't support anymore Java on OS/X, and I'm more than disappointed by such decision, I've got a strange feeling of being lurked by Cupertino.

I won't recommand anymore OS/X for Java development and seriously considering switching to Linux, directly or in a VM.

Posted by Henri on October 26, 2010 at 12:39 PM CEST #

Simply: no. Java is a platform (like .NET or Cocoa), not an application.

More useful: http://cld.blog-city.com/if_you_care_about_java_on_macos_x__consider_this_petition_1.htm

Posted by Daniele on October 26, 2010 at 03:40 PM CEST #

No, I would perhaps pay to help java being ported, but as a free software developer, I need my users on the mac to have a free java implementation.

Posted by Serge on October 26, 2010 at 04:54 PM CEST #

It's ridiculous;

Do you pay for Java on your Linux/Windows ? Why Mac users wa s pay for it ?

Posted by MarcioMacDev on October 27, 2010 at 12:21 AM CEST #

I love this one from the Apple Developer Agreement: "3.3.1 Applications may only use public APIs and frameworks included in the default installation of Mac OS X or as bundled with Xcode as provided by Apple, deprecated technologies (such as Java) may not be used."
It's funny. I would have never used an Apple for Java development because of the strange JVM situation. It is never a good idea to be dependent on one commercial implementer. Almost the same argument that you use against the spring framework. :-)

Posted by Thomas on October 27, 2010 at 01:17 AM CEST #


I even paid for TextMate and it seems to be far less complicated, than a JDK...

Posted by adam-bien.com on October 27, 2010 at 01:51 AM CEST #

I'd prefer to see an open-source port of Java on OS X, as a first-class citizen than relying on a single vendor.

That said, if Apple's VM starts to get dated, and someone has done a good job of porting Java to a commercially-offered VM, I'd definitely be willing to pay for the tools I need to continue to do commercial Java development under OS X.

Posted by Geoffrey Wiseman on October 27, 2010 at 08:10 PM CEST #

This is getting really weird now. I can see me configuring a MacBook in the Apple shop: add Java, 50$, add Flash, 50$, add BluRay, 500$, ... what's next? Come on guys, Steve doesn't need us, he doesn't want us. He is not looking for free-minded fellows, he is looking for lemmings. And all you strive for is to become lemmings? Java on the Mac is dead. Get over it.

Posted by Michael Jäger on October 28, 2010 at 02:30 AM CEST #

I think those who use Mac are rich and willing to spend a little money for conveniences. So, $50 to have Java running on their Mac computers is almost nothing. But I don't understand while they (Adam Bien is one of them) can spend > $1k for a laptop but still use NetBeans or Eclipse instead of Idea ($250/first year and $150 for every year after).

Posted by Thai Dang Vu on October 30, 2010 at 01:17 AM CEST #


I have a commercial IntelliJ license. Bought it officially last year (although I got one because of a JUG talk - but I think it was not intended for commercial use). I will also buy an upgrade for IntelliJ 10.

In the majority of Java EE 6 projects - I prefer to use NetBeans 6.9.1 and now even 7m2. I rarely use Eclipse.

Should I send you a screenshot of IntelliJ running on my machine? :-)


Posted by adam-bien.com on October 30, 2010 at 01:40 AM CEST #

@Thai (contd.),

my Mac was cheaper, than my previous IBM ThinkPad. The saved money, I could invest in a decent JDK port :-).

I use NetBeans because it is easier to introduce it into new projects. The amount of money does not matter - but you have to get approval for everything in bigger european companies... NetBeans is really good and free...

thanks for sharing your thoughts


Posted by adam-bien.com on October 30, 2010 at 01:46 AM CEST #

I'd suggest that someone approach IBM as they already make VM's for power based and intel based machines. A port of their existing Linux java to the OS-X one would surely not be that hard?


Posted by Chris on November 01, 2010 at 12:32 AM CET #

In watching my development work on my MacBookPro vs. my colleague's development work on Windows makes it quite clear: you can pay the MacTax up front and be productive, or you can pay the WindozeTax bit by bit, every day, and have much frustration. For better or worse, it looks like the LinuxTax is on the horizon.

Posted by Mark Chance on November 01, 2010 at 07:45 PM CET #

And in September, expect ipad 3 on Mac OS X Lion

Posted by Igor on February 10, 2011 at 01:00 PM CET #

There is so much noice around the apple. Finally, I bought iMac, iPhone and iPad. Believe it or not, I am not impressed by iPhone and iPad. I want to sell it. Android is much better.
I will stay with iMac, and time will show...

Posted by Andre Morua on July 27, 2011 at 05:55 PM CEST #

There is so much noice around the apple. Finally, I bought iMac, iPhone and iPad. Believe it or not, I am not impressed by iPhone and iPad. I want to sell them. Android OS is much better.
I will stay with iMac, and time will show...

Posted by Andre Morua on July 27, 2011 at 05:57 PM CEST #

Java on the Mac will be dead. No need for Apple to support a mostly server-side environment that's more or less owned by a strong competitor. Prepare to settle for a VM-based solution, preferably Ubuntu. I made an image with my complete work environment including auto-download of settings and shortcuts from the cloud.

Although now owning several Macs I never used them for Java development (I tried though). Shortcuts in Eclipse don't work like in Win7 or Ubuntu, font anti-aliasing really sucks for small fonts and all this really hurts my workflow. So I don't need Java on the Mac at all.

My plan was to get a full blown Mac Book Air 2011 and use Ubuntu in a VM but with 4GB RAM max this doesn't seem to be a good idea.

Using Win7 and Ubuntu at home and only Ubuntu at work is a win-win for me. Win7 is actually quite stable and I can set it to the NT 4.0 L&F that I prefer for development. So be realistic: Mac ist nice for media applications and SOHO, but it isn't a must for development. I don't care if Win7 or Ubuntu flicker or are not as polished as long as they flicker FAST!

Posted by Peter on July 27, 2011 at 06:30 PM CEST #

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