As Gosling says, "In the early days, they [Apple] were insistent on doing the port themselves. They put terrific energy into it. They did a good job. But then, as OS X took hold and Apple was able to convince developers to target their nonportable/proprietary environment, Apple's fundamental control-freak tendency took over and they put less and less energy into Java."
Oracle is now distributing Java SE 7 Update 4 for Mac OS X, and that will become the default version on Java.com starting May 1. Henrik Stahl, senior director of Java product management at Oracle, says, "Oracle's JDK and JavaFX release supports OS X Lion on any 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac. ... There are community efforts based on OpenJDK to build JDK 7 [and JVM on 32-bit machines] for other configurations, easily found using your favorite search engine. We applaud these efforts! :-)"
Oracle has announced full plans to embrace OS X Lion and later with new updates to the Java Standard Edition and Java Development Kit. (The JDK includes the Java Runtime Environment, JRE, which in turn includes the Java Virtual Machine, JVM. And you thought Microsoft's terminology was confusing!)
It's not clear if Oracle will be updating the Java runtime for earlier versions of OS X. That's particularly troubling because Dr. Web, the site that originally broke the story on the Flashback infections, now says that 25 percent of all Flashback infections come from Macs running OS X 10.5 Leopard, and 63 percent more are from OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Only 12 percent of all infections are in OS X 10.7 Lion, and those are the only machines that will be patched with Oracle's Java SE 7 Update 4. Leopard and Snow Leopard users are left to the "community efforts." If either Apple or Oracle is concerned about the hundreds of thousands of customers left swinging in the wind, there's no indication I can find.
In contrast, Apple's two recent Java patches covered Lion and Snow Leopard. They didn't cover Leopard.
It seems that Jobs' desires have finally been fulfilled, with the Java monkey now on Oracle's back. Cook was at the helm -- perhaps actively involved? -- when it happened. Apple's now able to wash its hands of all Java's faults going forward. Oracle has responsibility for its own product. All it took was 700,000 infections.
This story, "Apple's Tim Cook wins where Steve Jobs failed: On Java," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.