In the release notes for the latest OSX update, Apple has announced they will no longer develop, patch and release any more version of Java. While this is probably a response to Oracle claiming ownership of all rights ( and potential revenues ) to Java, what does this mean for Networking ?
Apple deprecates Java
As of the release of Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 3, the Java runtime ported by Apple and that ships with Mac OS X is deprecated. Developers should not rely on the Apple-supplied Java runtime being present in future versions of Mac OS X.
The Java runtime shipping in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, will continue to be supported and maintained through the standard support cycles of those products.
Whoo Hoo, at last, a chance to get free of Java on the desktop !!!
It’s reasonably common among networking vendors to use Java to produce fat client interfaces to their management software using Java. Cisco has the ASDM, Cisco Security Manager client, ACE client, SDM and many more. Blue Coat has their fat client for configuring SGOS and there are many more.
So what’s going to happen to these products if Java isn’t available ?
The idea behind Java was that vendors could write an interface that would run on any operating system including Linux, Windows and OSX. The reality has been that vendors actually only supported the Windows version and couldn’t actually make it work on any other platform since developers got lazy and used MS specific functions. It’s gotten better as the Mac OSX has become more popular but it’s still not great.
How many years of failure do companies need before they realise it’s time to change ?
Now it’s possible that Oracle will step and develop Java for the MAC, but that will take some time and it’s almost guaranteed to be bag full of problems for a couple of years (if previous Java experiences are any example).
The EtherealMind View
In my opinion, it’s time for Java to die. It’s time has passed and the new client platform is HTML5. After ten years of pain with Java clients, installation hassles, lack of memory, performance problems, machine restarts and general all round stupid problems, I’m more than ready for something else. ( I’ve got the same opinion of Microsoft products as well, I mean, twenty years, eight versions and they STILL haven’t got security sorted out ? Come on!)
There is no need for vendors to be using Java anymore, HTML5 offers all the capability and is proven. So I’m hoping the management software vendors take the time to develop new interfaces. Here hoping they also take the time and make investments in User Interface Design and find new ways to enhance the usability of the their applications. By Jupiter, I sure hope they do this, because so many management applications look like ass and it takes months to train newbies how to use the software and get used to their many foibles. (Hat tip to HP Networking and their “Intelligent Management Center” here: I saw their management platform recently and it’s a visual feast and it’s all HTML)
Of course, vendors could simply say that the Apple Mac’s aren’t supported, but that isn’t going to work since the overwhelming majority of IT people are using MAC. The Packet Pushers podcast stats show that forty to fifty percent of listeners are using OSX, and a lot of people are still listening at work. Therefore I would suggest that vendors are going to be forced to support OSX in the future. (Make sure you put that onto your tenders and feature requests).
The death of Java is long overdue, and I’m glad to see that Apple is helping that along. Huzzah.