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Apple, Oracle air-kiss their way to OpenJDK deal for Mac OS X

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Apple and Oracle signed a significant open-source deal today which welcomed the Mac OS X maker into the OpenJDK club, which IBM joined last month.

Under the agreement, Apple said it would divvy up most of the key components, tools and tech needed for a Java SE 7 implementation on the firm's Mac OS X platform.

In October, Apple appeared to have gone decidedly cold on Java on Mac OS X, in a move that suggested upkeep of the platform was on the wane.

Now it turns out Java developers are invited to the Mac Apps Store party, after all.

“The availability of Java on Mac OS X plays a key role in the cross-platform promise of the Java platform," said Oracle's senior development veep Hasan Rizvi in a press release.

"The Java developer community can rest assured that the leading edge Java environment will continue to be available on Mac OS X in the future. Combined with last month’s announcement of IBM joining the OpenJDK, the project now has the backing of three of the biggest names in software.”

Apple said that the components it would contribute to the project included a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.

The deal means that Apple's Java tech will be made available to open-source coders.

“The best way for our users to always have the most up-to-date and secure version of Java will be to get it directly from Oracle," said Apple senior software engineering veep Bertrand Serlet.

Apple said it would continue to make Java SE 6 available for Mac OS X Leopard and its upcoming Mac OS X Lion systems. However, Java SE 7 and later iterations of the software development platform for Mac OS X will be provided by Oracle.

Last month IBM announced its decision to junk Apache Harmony, an open-source Java implementation of Java, and join Oracle's OpenJDK project.

In effect, Oracle has recognised it needs Apple - and by extension, its Mac Apps Store - to be a friend... hence today's happy-clappy OpenJDK love-in. ®

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