Apple sticks to schedule, releases second El Capitan beta

2015's OS X will be the last to support the aged-but-still-popular Java 6

el capitan

Apple on Tuesday released the second developer preview of OS X 10.11, aka El Capitan, matching the cadence of last year's Yosemite to the day.

Previews of the Mac's next operating system are currently restricted to registered developers, although Apple has pledged to offer a beta to the general public next month.

Apple debuted El Capitan June 8 at its annual developers conference. The 15-day lag between then and today's second beta was identical to the stretch between the first and second previews of OS X 10.10, better known as Yosemite, in 2014.

If Apple continues to hew to the same schedule as last year, it will offer a public beta of El Capitan on July 30. That's unlikely, as it will barely make Apple's self-imposed deadline, presenting poor optics to the faithful. More probable would be a July 23 release for the public preview; like last year's Yosemite public beta roll-out, that's a Thursday.

Not surprisingly, Developer Preview 2 contains a host of unfinished features and known problems. For example, Apple's not recommending that users upgrade directly from OS X 10.7, aka Lion, or earlier, and said that if a Mac lapses into sleep mode while an AirDrop panel is open, the Wi-Fi connection may be slow upon wake.

Also of note is that El Capitan will be the last major release of OS X to support Java 6, the software Oracle retired in March 2013 and Apple deprecated in 2010. Apple last bundled Java with its Mac OS as of 2009's Snow Leopard; 2011's Lion did not include the software, although users could manually install it themselves.

While most Mac users don't miss Java much, those who use Apple's computers in the workplace might be stymied with the next OS X if, as promised, the operating system doesn't support the creaky-but-still-widely-used Java 6.

According to Wolfgang Kandek, the chief technology officer of Qualys, Java 6 remained popular in enterprises during 2014. By the end of the year, Qualys' scans showed that over 40% of all client personal computers -- the vast majority of them Windows PCs -- were running Java 6.

The software was there for a reason: Many companies have an assortment of Java 6-compatible line-of-business applications that would need to be written -- at a considerable cost -- to work with newer editions. Macs in those shops would need Java 6 to run those apps.

Java 6 remained popular in the enterprise last year Qualys

Java 6, which Apple abandoned years ago, remained popular in the enterprise last year, according to scans run by Qualys. That may be trouble down the road for Macs used in those workplaces because Apple plans to drop Java 6 support next year.

This story, "Apple sticks to schedule, releases second El Capitan beta" was originally published by Computerworld.

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