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Apple offers new JVM for Macs

Apple Computer debuts a new release of its Java Virtual Machine for Macintosh, claiming the new edition is up to five times faster than earlier versions.

Apple Computer has debuted a new release of its Java Virtual Machine for Macintosh, claiming the new edition is up to five times faster than earlier versions.

Based on industry standard CaffeineMark3 benchmarks, the new release, named MRJ 2.1, is available for free downloading from Apple's Web site.

MRJ 2.1 is based on Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.1.6 from Sun Microsystems, and allows Macintosh developers to expand the capabilities of Java applications by coupling them with core Apple technologies like QuickTime and AppleScript. Java is an interpreted language, meaning it relies on "virtual machine" technology for its portability across platforms.

"Customers will immediately notice the significant performance improvements in MRJ 2.1," Avie Tevanian, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said in a statement. "And it's designed to run real-world Java applications from companies such as Autodesk, Oracle, SCT, and Zero G Software."

The new MRJ 2.1 features Symantec's Just In Time (JIT) compiler for Java, as well as enhanced graphics, imaging, threading, and networking performance; compliance with Sun's JDK version 1.1.6, enabling new Java features to work with a Mac OS and maximum Java compatibility with the current generation of Java applications.

It also includes AppleScript support, enabling Java applets to work with other AppleScript applications; additional support for QuickTime for Java, which will be in the next release of QuickTime; and support for Swing, a user interface toolkit which brings the Macintosh "look and feel" to Java applications.

Mac OS Runtime for Java 2.1 requires a PowerPC-based Apple Macintosh computer, Mac OS 7.6.1 or later, and at least 32 MB of RAM.