Following Apple’s deprecation of their own Java distribution for Mac OS X, many developers were concerned the company would simply drop Java completely, leaving it up to Oracle or IBM or the open source community to develop, test and release an integrated Java distribution for Mac OS X. Many were also concerned that only Apple would be able to provide the necessary source code to correctly integrate a Java distribution into Mac OS X.
There are alternative Java distributions for Mac OS X, such as the SoyLatte project, however they do not integrate well with Mac OS X, leaving Java as a second class citizen on the platform.
But a new Apple press release just posted this morning announces that the company plans to participate in the OpenJDK project along with Oracle, to bring an officially supported, tightly integrated OpenJDK release to Mac OS X. Apple says it will provide the necessary components to make everything work together, but that Oracle will be responsible for keeping it up to date in the future.
Apple also committed to providing Java SE 6 on Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion”, which should provide a usable Java stack for developers until the OpenJDK release is available.
Apple also confirmed that Java SE 6 will continue to be available from Apple for Mac OS X Snow Leopard® and the upcoming release of Mac OS X Lion. Java SE 7 and future versions of Java for Mac OS X will be available from Oracle.
OpenJDK is the result of Sun Microsystems’ effort to open source the Java technology stack under a legitimate open source license. Many Linux distributions now ship OpenJDK as their default Java distribution.