Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Leopard, Java6, and immaturity

I have never before been ashamed to be a Java developer.

Apple did not include Java6 in last week's release of OS X Leopard. This came only a few short weeks after Apple pulled a Java6 beta that was available on ADC, with no word as to why. These two factors together seem to have triggered a firestorm in parts of the Java community, the most infamous being Michael Urban's disjointed rant over at JavaLobby where he fumes about the above issues at length, and eventually concludes that he's going to take his toys and go home, e.g. abandon OS X as his dev platform. The tone and content amount to nothing more than "I don't have what I want, when I want it, so SCREW YOU!" Judging from the comments he was hardly alone.

This is just embarrassing.

Leopard has been out for a grand total of five days. Five. Having such an extreme reaction to the lack of Java6 in the .0 version of Leopard is just...  wow. I really don't have words for it. Arrogant? Short-sighted? Immature? Completely ignorant of what it takes to get an operating system shipped? It certainly isn't supported by history.

Once Java 1.4 was added to OS X 10.0, Apple has always included Java in its operating system. Always. It is apparent that Java isn't a top priority for the company, but that does not mean that it has *zero* priority, or that those priorities are even skewed. Apple's primary target is and always has been the consumer market. Java simply isn't a player in that space. Further, Java powers much of -- including the iTunes Music Store -- so it is hardly in Apple's interest to neglect it.

None of the complaints change the fact Macs are still an extremely enjoyable environment to develop Java applications on, far better than Windows or Ubuntu. For me this is the important part: what tool do I feel most comfortable using? Java6 availability changes that not at all.

Even if Java6 were available its lack of penetration even within the Java-sphere would really make it more of a novelty than a must-have. Sad, possibly, but true.


Addendum: There are a few words that when I run across in an article cause me to immediately take what is being said less seriously. "Fanboy", "zealot", and their ilk are large red flags. The newest one is "Steve Jobs". From the previously linked to article: "But once again, the part I have really had it with, is the unprecedented arrogance of Steve Jobs and company..." Steve Jobs has had more unsupported adjectives thrown at him than I think anyone since Bill Clinton. For many Jobs has become a rhetorical foil, something used more for emotive effect than anything else.

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