Apple Chose...Poorly

So after a long wait, Apple finally released Java 6 for OS X. It's for Leopard only. And Leopard is apparently going to be the only Java-supporting OS without a 32-bit Java 6.

I can accept that it only runs in Leopard. They're moving forward, and with Java shipped as part of the OS it's a lot more hassle to backport it to Tiger. Plus, I've got Leopard so I'd be fine.

But the 32-bit thing really burns me.

It's not like there's only 64-bit Javas out there and Apple would have to do all the heavy lifting to support them on 32-bit machines. The vast majority of installed Java distributions are the 32-bit versions, and Sun ships 32 and 64-bit JDKs for both Linux and Windows. Hell, Landon Fuller even got the FreeBSD patchset JDK 6 to successfully build on Mac. It's missing the "last mile" of OS X integration like a Cocoa UI (X11 only right now) and sound support, but hell, it's there and it runs. So it's not even the JVM bits standing in their way.

Could it possibly be the OS integration? I don't buy that. Unless there's some serious problem with their libraries on 32 versus 64-bit systems, it oughta be a recompile. Even if it's a little more work than that, there's a lot of 32-bit Intel Macs out there.

Of course the fanboys are just going to tell me "welcome to the club." Yes, I know Apple regularly holds back features to encourage people to upgrade OS or hardware. And this is probably one of those cases, since there certainly doesn't seem to be a good technical reason for it. But seriously...this one just seems dumb, since they could have put the same bits in Landon's port and essentially had it working.

Maybe I'm too naive. Is this just standard operating procedure at Apple? Anything we can do to convince them?
Written on April 30, 2008