JDK 6 and JavaFX on 32-bit Macs

Dearest Apple. Words cannot express my feelings towards you. Therefor allow me to use punctuation and special characters: @#$%\^&\*!!? :-p Yours Truly.

\*SIGH\* If you have one of the 2006 Intel Macs with 32-bit processors, you guessed what I'm talking about: In spring '08, Apple finally released the Apple JDK 6 (or as they call it, "Java for Mac OS 10.5"), but for 64-bit processors only. And there is no sign this will change soon: On Mac hardware, Mac OS X 10.5.2 and an Intel Core 2 processor are the minimum requirements for the JDK 6 -- and also for JavaFX.

Apart from switching to Windows or Linux, or buying new hardware, the only alternative for developers who don't meet those requirements is the Soy Latte JDK 6. Using this JDK solves a few problems but also raises some others. You have to decide whether the pros out-weigh the cons in your work situation:

Pro

  • You can use the JavaFX SDK on top of the SoyLatte JDK
  • IDEs like NetBeans work with SoyLatte (you're not stuck on the command line)
  • No need to buy new hardware for JDK 6 / JavaFX development

Con

  • Must use X11 whose user-interface needs getting used too (shortcuts, menus).
  • Installation is less straight-forward than installing the Apple JDK
  • No support for Java Web Start (javaws) yet

I tried it out at home over the weekend, and kept notes, so if you too want to set up the SoyLatte JDK and JavaFX on a 32-bit Mac, have a look at this tech tip and leave a comment what you think.

Comments:

Why not drink some of the KoolAid and install OpenSolaris on the Intel32 Mac. Works like a dream. And has the best Java to boot.

Posted by Kate Moss on August 18, 2008 at 06:45 AM CEST #

Why don't I just whine along with you... ;)
Sigh. Having to buy new hardware is so frustrating! It may sound silly, but I have actually almost quit developing Java related stuff at home for some time... Yes, I wrote almost...

Posted by Hans-Gunnar Vold on August 18, 2008 at 06:45 AM CEST #

I think that getting new hardware or installing an OS for development is missing the point.

If JavaFX will only run on 64 bit Intel macs with Leopard, there is no chance that it will gain any traction against Flash or Silverlight.

Does anyone else find it odd that Microsoft is doing a better job at developing RIA's for the Mac/Windows then Sun is?

Silverlight requirements are
# Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later
# 800MHz PowerPC G4 processor

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/development_tools/silverlight.html

Posted by Kraig Spear on August 18, 2008 at 07:53 AM CEST #

When I remember right, Snow Leopard will bring a JRE 1.6 which also run on 32 bit Intel macs

Posted by Anonymous on August 18, 2008 at 09:12 AM CEST #

I'm always puzzled by how much crap Mac users are willing to take from Apple. It's been clear for a while that Apple doesn't care for Java on its platforms (incl. the iPhone), and if one wants to be able to develop in Java w/ a decent set of tools, Macs are just not the platform for that.

Anyway, I know you said that you weren't necessarily considering switching to Linux, Solaris , or Windows, but it seems to me that if you're a Java developer, those are the viable options. Yeah, Macs are pretty, but Apple is abusive to its users. Go figure.

Posted by Alex Kotchnev on August 18, 2008 at 02:05 PM CEST #

Regarding your question on missing NetBeans menu items from the Wiki page, I have

http://blogs.sun.com/wangwj/entry/netbeans_with_soylatte

Posted by Weijun on August 19, 2008 at 11:23 PM CEST #

Wow, thanks Weijun, that's a very clever solution! :-) I'll include a link to your blog in the tutorial.

Posted by Seapegasus on August 21, 2008 at 03:40 AM CEST #

@Alex: I don't remember saying I wasn't considering other OS's (I said e.g., for JavaFX, Windows and MacOS are your only alternatives). At work, I also have Solaris and Linux installed for Java development. This SoyLatte tech tip is a solution for my weekend projects on an older Mac at home - and maybe it's of use to others, too.

Posted by Seapegasus on August 21, 2008 at 03:58 AM CEST #

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