Java and Mac OS X

Apple Outsider has a good piece on Java on Mac OS X. If you haven’t heard, Apple has announced that the current version of Java has been deprecated. This means that Apple is not going to keep creating their own Java VM for OS X. Apple is relying on Oracle/Sun to make a VM for OS X now. SteveĀ Jobs himself reportedly emailed a developer and said “Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms. They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it.”

The only Java-based astronomical software that came to mind was Leopard/Spot which is being retired in favor of what I believe is a web-based archive. Though in my postdoc days, I recall a GUI for a data reduction pipeline that was written in Java. (My only other recent encounter with something written in Java has a connection to astronomy isĀ tenuous at best.)

However, I’ve been out of the astronomy game for a while, so how do you suppose the possible end of Java on the Mac will affect scientific/astronomical software for the Mac? What’s out there astronomy-wise that’s Java?

13 comments… add one
  • bph Oct 25, 2010 @ 15:01

    ESO relies on Java for some important software, e.g.,

  • anon Oct 25, 2010 @ 15:20

    HST’s proposal software (APT) is Java.

  • John Gizis Oct 25, 2010 @ 17:31

    I think Herschel’s planning software HSpot is a spinoff of Spitzer’s Spot.

    As you said, Leopard is retired. Is a big deal though? Java would presumably still be available for Mac.

  • Marcos Oct 25, 2010 @ 18:37

    Two more posts on Java and OS X – both via Daring Fireball.

    One from Lachlan O’Dea and another, a bit more technical, from Chris Adamson

    Short term, we’ll still have Apple’s Java on the Mac. Long term? It depends if Oracle steps up and delivers.

  • Gus Oct 25, 2010 @ 23:40

    proposal/obs planning software seems to be covered in prior comments, but many astronomy reduction and analysis tools are built with Java.

    ESO’s VLT workflow tool Reflex, Spitzer’s MOPEX (GUI version) and Herschel’s HIPE reduction tools are all Java based.

    Almost all the desktop tools built by/for the virtual observatory projects are in Java: Aladin, TOPCAT, STILTS, SPLAT, VOSpec, VO Desktop, Specview, Skyview

  • Matthew Oct 26, 2010 @ 0:15

    I use the Java-based, yEd graph editor software for flowcharts and block diagrams. Not Astronomy specific, but very useful nonetheless. I’d certainly miss it if OSX Java fell by the wayside.

  • Prasanth Oct 26, 2010 @ 0:22


  • Bubak Oct 26, 2010 @ 5:36

    Topcat, Aladin, Pixy2…

  • Ross Oct 26, 2010 @ 12:00

    The complete data reduction and processing system for ESA’s Gaia mission is written in Java (mostly by programmers using Eclipse – though not many of them have Macs…). Still this is not an end of Java on Mac…

  • Varoujan Oct 26, 2010 @ 13:49

    We’ve developed a Java based photometry tool at the Spitzer Science Center primarily for educational activities aimed at middle and high schools since most such schools don’t have the capability to afford professional tools or to install something like IRAF. It’s called Aperture Photometry Tool ( ). Since it’s a very easy tool to use and uses all the right math for proper sky and noise calculations, I use it when I need a quick measurement instead of firing up IDL or IRAF.

  • Michael Aye Oct 27, 2010 @ 5:07

    One more reason for Python, yay! (SCNR …)

  • Prasanth Nov 12, 2010 @ 9:24

    “Oracle and Apple Announce OpenJDK Project for Mac OS X”

  • Emanuela Pompei May 9, 2011 @ 19:55

    ALMA OT and sensitivity tool are also Java based.

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