It would have been very elegant to donate the graphics parts of
Apple's port at the same time to an open source Java project. As long
as an App Store is not the only means of delivering applications to
the platform, we should not care a lot. Apple focused on the consumer
market and does not care, at this moment, about the enterprise or
scientific computing markets. This does not mean that an Apple Mac
does not stay a cosy platform to develop and run e.g. OpenJDK on, and
maybe Oracle or IBM will step in here, because there is much goodwill
to be gained here for Java developers.
I remember quite well the promise, by Steve Jobs himself, to make
MacOSX the premier Java development platform. Actually, I also
remember Bill Gates' announcement of OS/2 as the future of PC
operating systems. Personally, I try not to lie because it can hurt
people, but sometimes I do change my mind. This is what must have
happened here. It is odd that Apple wants to tie itself to specific
instruction set architectures while in the past its transitions were
based on cross-platform tooling like Java and Rosetta. The app store
delivery model must have something to do with this - there are no
lingering copies on peoples machines that mandate backward
compatibility. It is more than tragic that just at the very moment
that Java surpasses most native code in performance, this particular
plug is pulled.
In the long run, the hotspot VM approach to do run-time analysis of
code behaviour and selective native compilation will turn out to be a
better model and the approach to have compile-time analysis to
generate close-to-the metal instruction sequences will prove to be
short-sighted and hampering development and speed. It reminds me of
the old discussion whether you should write assembler or higher level
languages, and Steve Jobs et alia seem to have the positions of the
bearded, sandal wearing sysprogs of the time; but there is news: high
level languages won, because they can write better assembler than you
- you will try to do storage-to-storage instructions all the time and
the compiler counts its available registers.
We'll speak again when your phones and tablets are slower than the
competition because they have better optimizing VM's.
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