Java 6 on the Mac

I’ve been playing Minecraft a lot (which is a really cool procedural survival adventure game) and there is a thriving modding community surrounding it, featuring simulators, map editors, inventory editors, etc. Some of the programs are written in C# or C++ and optimized for Windows, and while I’d like to use those, I can’t. Getting Mono to work on my mac is too much work and my Windows VM is stuck at an unupgradable version of Windows XP, SP 0, so .NET and C# won’t work there either. The other programs are written in Java, which my mac is perfectly capable of running, right? Java will run on anything, right? Nope. You see, most of those programs require Java 6. Java 6 is not available for most macs. You see, Apple supplies their own, modified version of Java. I’m not entirely sure what magic they roll in, but I know part of it replacing the default Swing and AWT toolkit looks with special Apple brand Aqua buttons, menus, etc. That means that mac users are (almost, as we’ll see) completely dependent on Apple for their versions of Java. Now, Sun released Java 6 in 2006, 4 years ago. You’d think Apple would have gotten a version of Java 6 out to the mac community, right? Nope. Well, sort of. Apple has released a version of Java 6, but they haven’t released it to everybody. This version of Java is only available to Intel 64 bit macs. That means that if you don’t have an Intel Core 2 Duo or Xeon processor in your mac, you can’t run Java 6. This is infuriated, because I have neither. I have an Intel Core Duo. There is, however, a partial solution. It is called SoyLatte, and it is a port of the BSD Java 6 to mac, and it works, as far as I can tell, perfectly. The complete instructions are too long to print here, but I found an infinitely useful guide on the Netbeans site here.

The fact that Apple has blatantly ignored Java 6 and failed to port it to 32 bit macs says a lot about Apple. I can say with confidence that my next computer will not be an Apple. I do not like the direction is taking, not only with Java but in the whole free direction. I recently read an article where Apple patented the “disabling of OS features until an advertisement is viewed”. Good god. This is bad. This is so bad people form dystopian futures around locked down operating systems like this. I’m surprised Apple even lets us install alternate versions of Java. If I were an international conglomerate, I wouldn’t want those pesky open source people messing about with the innards of my computers. As the Heavy says, “Oh this is bad!”

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