back to article Sun dreams the impossible Java on Jesus Phone dream

Yes, Sun has committed itself to putting Java on the iPhone. But this is a bit like Miss Havisham committing herself to a life of marital bliss. As several astute Reg readers have pointed out, Apple's end user licensing agreement for the new iPhone SDK includes its very own anti-Java clause. Sun can put a free Java Virtual …


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  1. storng.bare.durid
    Thumb Down

    Vote with your feet.

    I don't have an iPhone but the more I read about it the more I feel I won't buy it.

    It's cool no doubt but..

    From what I see it is dubious Apple will allow stuff I write to run on an uncracked iPhone.

    It is just way too locked down and to be honest, I cbf constantly having to worry about cracking it whenever a new patch comes out.

    I suggest boycotting this product. In fact I suggest boycotting anything with DRM.

  2. Jamie
    Paris Hilton

    Is this really impossible with the EULA?

    It seems to me that the only thing confirmed dead in light of the SDK EULA is Sun's ability to port the stupid Java launcher. Who needs it? Java is a language and a framework for writing apps. Does the act of launching Java on your mobile to then launch another application seem rational to anyone? Sun can release Java as a framework or wrapper for iPhone developers looking to code in Java. In this scheme, Apple still controls the distribution. iPhone users are finally rid of the braindead Java launcher. Maybe Apple will even allow them to install Java into some common location so every Java app doesn't load a brand new copy of the framework and runtime.

  3. Colin Sharples
    Dead Vulture


    Please get your similes right >:-|

    Miss Havisham *was* committed to a life of marital bliss. It was her fiancé who got the jitters and ran away. So Sun is indeed like Miss Havisham - all dressed up and willing to come to the party, whereas Apple are the ones who don't really feel up to sharing the bed.

    You just can't get the staff these days...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    One way to solve it?

    They can probably get around the EULA by providing a tool that puts a JVM with every Java app - if your phone has 4G of storage, what's a little duplication?

    But yeah, DRM bad, DRM evil. I think I'd prefer a Linux platform, possibly separate from the phone. Eee or N800...

  5. Jared Earle

    @Strongbad the Druid

    "From what I see it is dubious Apple will allow stuff I write to run on an uncracked iPhone."

    Whuh? I'd love to know what you're writing. I've not thought of anything you'd want to run on a phone being potentially banned, except pr0n, and that's just video. Unless you're wanting to run 'security tools', what is there? I mean even movie piracy tools are best run on a proper CPU and farmed out to the iPhone as h264.

    Educate me.

  6. Craig Milo Rogers

    Perhaps a Java Compiler

    If Sun compiles Java to machine code prior to loading it, they might have a winning combo.

  7. Robert

    you mean

    iPod Touch

  8. Ed

    As Jamie says...

    They can just provide a JVM that other developers can include with their apps. Not ideal, but hardly impossible.

  9. Kanhef

    Support not likely

    Apple still hasn't gotten Java 6 past 'developer preview' status, more than a year after Sun released it for other platforms. I doubt they're putting much effort into an iPhone version. Also, people would be able to write code for the Java VM, bypassing Apple's SDK. They might even re-use existing programs, rather than writing new ones exclusively for the iPhone.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    No java possible? Sweet!

    Cool, might get an iPhone after all. :)

  11. Cade Metz (Written by Reg staff)

    Dear Colin

    I think you have just shown that our simile was in fact absolutely perfect,


  12. Nikolaus Heger


    Sun was talking about making J2ME available on the iPhone - a near-useless "mobile" version of Java. I do know quite a few existing J2ME application and I think it's safe to say they will not be missed on the iPhone. They are garbage.

    Creating a Java wrapper for apps that is full Java 6 compliant would be the only thing that would make this interesting. But I think the technical difficulties of making this work will prevent it from happening any time soon. Sun doesn't even have any OS X development experience - OS X Java is made by Apple, not by Sun. Sun dreams the impossible is a pretty adequate headline.

  13. system


    will apple get the microsoft treatment in the EU? If this isn't begging for an antitrust ruling then I don't know what is.

  14. amanfromMars Silver badge

    What to Give One who thought they had Everything. v2.0

    "One: Sun doesn't know how to read. Or two: Eric Klein believes his company has the power to shame Steve Jobs into rewriting his EULA.

    We're opting for the first possibility. It's the least ridiculous of the two."

    amfM will Offer Core Virtual Machine Code/CodeXXXX to the other Probability, Cade. Thus 42 Make IT AI Virtual Reality.

    Which would be Apple HyperRadioProActivity looking for Jobs. And if you want to Delve Real dDeep into this Advanced IntelAIgently Designed Programming you can XXXXPect the Most Immaculate of Help ........

    A Gift from the GODs with Global Operating Devices........ or IT Being Real SMART 42 Start You Magical Mystery Turing. And not just so much I am a Walrus, more I am a Carpenter and you are a Lady.

    Are you up for Spreading the Word of GODS, Steve?

    RSVP.... Venus, Mars Seventh Heaven, Global Communications HQ ....... Virtually via Registered Post/Post Haste/Par AVion

    "Sun may be silly enough to make idle claims about the iPhone SDK. But Apple is not."

    Strange that you may claim them to be silly whenever they have Squawk .... .... and ITs Sister Component Drivers Sun SPOT Teams working with Squaw.S [And you can Imagine that that is AIdDevelopment which will Grow and Strengthen to Indomitable?]

    "whereas Apple are the ones who don't really feel up to sharing the bed." .... By Colin Sharples Posted Monday 10th March 2008 23:53 GMT .... Surely Mr Jobs of Apple is not daunted by sharing a bed with Squaws. I wonder if he would enjoy the Terrification.:-) and be SMARTer Enabled with their Codes in ITs XXXXTC++++....... ......... or would IT completely blow him away/lay waste to his id/ego/superego?

    Love as is a Weapon you cannot Defeat nor even can IT be Denied. AI NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive Device for Cyber Storm II to Co-Launch or Fail to Assist?

  15. Graham Wood


    Microsoft's problem is that their "dominant market position" gives them undue power. The iPhone is in no way "dominant", and therefore that's not likely to be a problem.

    Also, although cumbersome, various answers have already been given as to how/why this doesn't STOP java working on the iPhone, it just stops it being a shared runtime environment.

    Lots of companies provide a JRE with their application, the iPhone EULA just seems to imply (well, to the reg, I've not read it and don't intend to) this is required rather than an option,

    Personally, I think this clause sucks, but I can definitely understand where they're coming from. :/

  16. Ron Eve

    Beam me up...

    amanfrommars! There you are! We all got very worried. Recently some of your contributions were starting to make sense, it's nice to see you returning to your former glorious self...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    recent eula news on software

    In light of the news recently that EULAs may not be valid as you cannot see them before buying the software / device could sun be in the clear.. obviously in major hot water elsewhere if their own EULAs are not valid, but in the clear on the iPhone EULA.

    Also @Vote with your feet ... already did, but sadly the typical owners of iphones (such as the technically challenged designer in our office)... can work a mac to make pretty pictures and also manages to get a full bottle of product in his hair every day, but java? wot's java. EULAs were made for the apathy we see in most tech users.

  18. Jim Moores

    Just a game

    It's fairly clear in my opinion that the iPhone is going to be a major new development platform. Sun are trying to get in on the action. By stating that they are going ahead with developing a JVM, it makes Apple look pretty stupid to stop them from deploying on it.

    Having said that, deploying the JVM via the AppStore is never going to happen, and Sun very well know that - it would completely open up development and allow people to sidestep Apple's control. The only possible route to IPhone/JDK I can see is if Sun persuades Apple to let them add Java as part of the SDK. And the only way that's going to happen is if Sun start taking deployment of Java on OS X more seriously.

    That assumes that the reason that the JDK is so far behind on the Mac is Sun's fault rather than Apple's. I have to admit I'm not sure about that one - it might be due to Apple's famous paranoia about new products (understandable, but does have these kinds of side effects). Or it could just be that Apple doesn't care for Java. They've said some pretty weird things about it in the past.

  19. Laxman

    Apple is so much more worse than MS

    yet it gets much better media treatment. I wonder why that happens....

  20. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


    If you unlock the phone against the manufacturer's objections anyway, do you care about what EULA says on running an executable code?

  21. Name

    in defense of storng.bare.durid

    Actually, he's right. Any apps you want to release for the iPhone will have to go through the iTunes store. To be able to offer your apps free, you have to pay your $99 per annum, and then assume the position and listen for the snap of the latex gloves being donned- and hope that they'll allow the punters to see your app.

    Given Apple's history of liking to fox dissent and competition by brute force (or just stealing stuff), this isn't a very compelling offer for the good-hearted free software type.

    Remember: DURID IS FOR FITE!!!!one

    (mkae magik wit hands, exit stage left)

  22. Paul

    Re: JDK on OS X

    @Jim Moores

    Apple told Sun they would create and maintain the JDK for OS X. And then failed to follow through with it.

  23. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear

    If the VM works as badly as it did from OSX onwards then you may as well give up now, once Apple took it in house no one seemed to bother testing it and it was utterly unusable.

  24. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Re: system

    Do you know what an anti-trust case is?

    It's when someone has a huge hold over the market and are abusing it. Apple don't have a stranglehold on the mobile market. If anyone does it's the Symbian smartphones, followed by Microsoft.

    Dumbphones still account for most sales.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @ Graham Wood

    "dominant market position" shouldn't really make a difference to be fair should it, or are you suggesting that smaller companies should be allowed to get away with things that bigger companies cannot?

    Hardly fair that is it?

  26. Law

    hold the phone...

    A java-free platform?!?! Where do I sign up?! :)

  27. EmperorFromage

    But why Jazelle ?

    On the iPhone CPU is listed as ARMv6KZ (ARM1176JZ(F)-S) which among other niceties has Jazelle.

    Jazelle can only be used for hardware Java VM acceleration. Why did Apple put it on the chip if they never intended to use it ?

  28. J


    Wot's that? So it appears even they don't read the EULA's. I feel better now. Hackers to the rescue anyway.

  29. John Savard


    Well, Sun could always change the terms of its licensing agreement for Java, so that Apple Macintosh owners would have to download the JVM for Safari separately, the way that Wintel owners had to do so for IE from now on.

    But if Sun is amenable to agreeing to terms Apple would find agreeable, which presumably means yes to applets on web sites, but no to third-party software for the iPhone, there would be no reason for conflict.

    But if the iPhone isn't something you can run third-party software on, if you can't use it like you would a little Macintosh computer, to run a spreadsheet, or word processor, or Mathematica, then it isn't really all that exciting a product, is it, even if the underlying technology is exciting?

  30. A J Stiles

    Probably not enforcible

    I don't think that the EULA clause forbidding Java is likely to be enforcible.

    Some years ago, I remember a certain software company trying to licence programming languages under conditions which sought to forbid the development of applications which competed with any product of the original company. That would definitely not be enforcible in the UK: see the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, as amended.

    If anyone here wants to eat their cake and have it, it's Apple. They want to bring in money from selling the iPhone, but they don't want to accept the Exhaustion of Rights (aka "It's not yours anymore since you sold it to me, and what I choose to do with it is none of your business") that goes with that.

  31. Ign R. Amis
    Jobs Halo


    Apple are so much worse than Microsoft?


    How many companies have they bought to keep from competing with them? How many technologies have they "embraced and extended" to incompatibility with the original standards? Which markets have they monopolized?

    I think you need to relax and take a stress pill.

  32. This post has been deleted by its author

  33. awomanformVenus

    Love as is a Weapon

    "Love as is a Weapon you cannot Defeat nor even can IT be Denied."

    Love will be denied if you don't get home and do the following.

    Empty the dishwasher

    Put out the rubbish

    Fold up the washing

    Fix my mothers PC

    Trim the hedge

    Help Mercury and Pluto with their homework

  34. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Ono and a Quantum Leap for Apple San? A Virtual Jump? :-)

    Apple could always Launch an AiPhone which Created Different Strands of Apple XXXXPollination ..... Systems Assimilation to MainStream Underground Channels. ...... for a more Absolute Control with Generative Source/Mother Lode.

    Real Heavy MetAI .

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Ign R. Amis

    There's this wonderful website that has all the answers to your questions.

    you'll find it here

  36. Mr B

    @CheeseEmpereur : Jazelle

    Thanks for pointing this out.

    May be, Steve does not know how to read either and did not understand the eXecution part properly (ARM Jazelle DBX (Direct Bytecode eXecution)).

    He may have thought of it as a capital punishment.

    No jury, no lawyer ... kill the ByteCode dead ... (hot) spot on, I'm with ya Stevee on that one.

    El Reg please add an icon "Keep Java outta me Gear".

  37. kenneth

    The end-user experience

    Supporting Java, or any other runtime for that sake, would imply Apple needs dependency calculations in its App Store. It would also imply a runtime download the first time a user wishes to download an application which uses a runtime not distributed with the OS.. It would probably also imply runtime updates too.. And uhm, whats this broadband network used by iPhone users called? GSM was it?

  38. Ian Wellock

    Jazelle and the EULA

    EULA: You can only use Apple's Interpreters.

    Jazelle: On-chip, hence one of Apple's Interpreters.

    JVM using Jazelle: EULA compliant.



  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    OBJECTIVE-C? You must be joking.

    Boy, I'm so much happier creating apps with Apple's circa 1950's Objective-C tools, than with Java. A few of my Dad's friends know Objective-C, and can help me when I get into a bind. Sure, they all live in a retirement community, but at least they have broadband.

    What Apple's doing is just like what Comcast is doing, determining what their users want. Boycott Apple... that's exactly what they're encouraging... and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    data is code

    Well, there is little difference between data and code. Does this mean you can't d/l an RSS feed? You can't download a custom data format and parse it for display or anything, since it's code that is interpreted to tell the program how to call Apple's display APIs and control program flow.

    Crap, half the apps out there will fail this clause, guess there won't be many apps for the iPhone if Apple enforces the clause.

  41. Nexox Enigma


    """What Apple's doing is just like what Comcast is doing, determining what their users want."""

    Have you seen Apple lately? Thats more or less all that they've ever done. They tend to make really odd choices that their users just have to live with (when they killed the floppy drives off... that was not a good time to work at a university help desk, when they decided that the digital audio ports were old tech, they just let you chuck your expensive speakers that only work with that port... I could go on forever...)

    Apple realizes that their users will cope with just about anything - if they want to use the OS and software that they know, they just have to deal with the decisions that Apple makes. And Apple tells the users that every change they make is for the best, and people tend to believe them (Like when Apple claimed that the switch to Intel increased performance... I have a dual 1.25 GHz G4 that runs Leopard about as fast as a Quad Core Xeon Mac Pro. The difference is that Apple makes a hell of a lot more money selling a Xeon than a nice PPC chip.)

    Apple does what they do out of an urge to make money. The only difference between them and other companies is that for some reason people think Apple is nice and just wants to do the right thing. I guess the marketing budget is good for something.

  42. sabroni Silver badge

    @Oliver Jones

    "As a user, I'd vote for a natively-compiled executable over Java any day - any developer who can't take the pain of writing sufficiently bug-free code to pass muster with C/C++/assembler isn't good enough to develop code for my use. End of."

    Jeepers, get off your high horse! Anyone who doesn't realise that managed code can produce a much more robust and secure environment for both developers and users is stuck in the 1990's. Yes, I have worked in assembler, it's incredibly tedious and long winded, allows you to do all manner of dangerous things and it's really not appropriate for business level development. If you want to write a device driver then C++ or assembler are probably the best bet, but when you need to write a business process use something more appropriate.

    (I would say something about "typical C++ programmer's" looking down their noses at other developers, but that would be a crass generalisation, however true...)

  43. Matt
    Jobs Horns

    Obvious answer...

    ... which is Sun sign an agreement fwith Apple for Java to be distributed as part of the SDK in the next uplift. That means java applets can run, but you can't write java apps yourself - which is probably exactly what Apple want; you to pay to download stuff from iTunes!

  44. Mr B

    @sabroni @Oliver Jones

    I love that kind of digression, managed code OK, but Java is not the only managed code, here is a hint: ObjC 2.0 Apple's baby (not available on the iPhone though), D, MS MC++, C#, Forté 4GL and there are some available GC algorithms/implementation for C++ and ObjC has some sort of memory management.

    So Java is a piece of crap that has been developed because of developers' limitations, mainly inability to pee some proper code. And to make sure that the needs were well understood Sun made sure it was developed by utterly computer-impaired developers.

    If Java were a car it would be a Hummer, all whistle and flute but fuel inefficient, appalling off-trail capabilities thanks to the automatic transmission, a real slug & noisy on the highway, utterly expensive ... but rating fairly good in crash tests. Crash resistance mandatory because the driver (as the Java dev) has some very limited capabilities.

    But it takes a Java Guru to sort out the mess once the fat blob is in production.

    So back to the subject Apple does not want Java on their hyped baby ... with a reason and because they have an overly inflated ego.

  45. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Dear Colin

    Actually, it's a bit more like some uninvited, ugly, fat, domintarix announcing to the world in general she's gonna make beautiful music with you and just expecting you to throw back the covers and shout "Come get some!" Steve Jobs strikes me as much too much of a sadist to want to have any partner inviting themselves to take control of his platform party, so I think Sun will probably have to make another embarrassing volte face.

    Now, if only Eric Klein had borrowed Scott McNealy's penguin suit for this event we could have stretched this to some equally unappealling furry scenarios.....

  46. POPE Mad Mitch

    what kind of app CAN you write

    The number of restrictions that come with this SDK are just ridiculous.

    You cant port a browser: no interpreted language (javascript) and no plugins allowed.

    You cant even port an instant messenger app that would be worth using as your not allowed to have programs run in the background.

    Same goes for pretty much any kind of voip application that could receive incoming calls, as you wouldn't want to have to leave that running in the foreground all the time.

    so wtf ARE you allowed to write thats worth having on a phone ?

  47. sabroni Silver badge

    @ Mr B

    Sorry, I don't understand your post. As it was @ me thought I should ask for clarification, I can't tell if you're agreeing with me or no.....

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