Darwin's Theories Blog

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Tiger v. Tiger; Apple does a Bad Bunny to Java

Apple's much-heralded Tiger, offically called Mac OS X 10.4, contains many nice advances, including Dashboard, Automator, and more. But concurrent with Tiger's release, Apple appears to have gone out of their way to break Sun's venerable old "Write Once, Run Anywhere" mantra. Not only are they a good six months behind the industry in releasing Sun's Tiger, known as Java Standard Edition 1.5 (aka "Java 5"). They also solemnly refuse to release Java 1.5 for even their current OS, Mac OS 10.3. Presumably this is to pressure people to buy 10.4. That's their choice, but Java developers are left with a rather unpleasant conundrum: either give up on all the nice features of Java's Tiger, or give up on compatibility with Apple's Tiger.
The fact is that many people would have upgraded without pressure like this. I bought 10.4 today, the first full day it was on sale in stores in Toronto, and several hours before I found that the Java was not backwards compatible. But now I'm going to think twice before upgrading again. By the time of the next upgrade, OpenBSD (my favorite free OS because of its security stance and record) may have good enough desktop support for Mac laptops that I can "switch" completely - to free software.
There's no good in Apple's decision for developers or end users. After a bad choice like this, I think Apple will find that theirs is the Paper Tiger.