Category Archives: java

Eclipse and JDK 1.6.0_05 on Mac OS

Last week, Java 1.6 went out of Developer Preview and became an “official” release for Mac OS 10.5.2. (You still can’t get 1.6 for 10.5.1, sadly.) I’ve been fiddling with 1.6 and Eclipse, trying to get them to play well together, and here’s what I’ve found so far.

Eclipse itself needs to run on 1.5. There’s a great blog post, “Running Eclipse on MacBooks with Java 6”, written by one “rkischuk,” that explains why: 1.6 doesn’t support 32-bit SWT-Cocoa bindings, so Eclipse will bomb. The error I got was a mysterious “JVM Terminated. Exit code=-1” and a list of run-time options. If you run Eclipse from a shell, you might see this:

2008-05-09 10:53:55.443 eclipse[257:10b] Cannot find executable for CFBundle 0x116030 (not loaded)

or maybe this:

_NSJVMLoadLibrary: NSAddLibrary failed for /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/CurrentJDK/Libraries/libjvm.dylib
JavaVM FATAL: Failed to load the jvm library.

When I installed 1.6, I had messed around with /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions, trying to get 1.6 to run as the system default. But the cleanest solution for me was to KEEP 1.5 as the default. So make sure that directory looks like this:

drwxr-xr-x 11 root wheel 374 May 9 10:49 ..
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 5 May 5 22:41 1.3 -> 1.3.1
drwxr-xr-x 3 root wheel 102 Nov 2 2007 1.3.1
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 5 Apr 18 13:07 1.4 -> 1.4.2
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 3 May 5 22:41 1.4.1 -> 1.4
drwxr-xr-x 8 root wheel 272 Apr 27 2007 1.4.2
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 5 Apr 18 13:07 1.5 -> 1.5.0
drwxr-xr-x 8 root wheel 272 Apr 27 2007 1.5.0
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 5 May 5 22:41 1.6 -> 1.6.0
drwxr-xr-x 8 root wheel 272 Apr 18 14:03 1.6.0
drwxr-xr-x 9 root wheel 306 May 9 10:50 A
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 1 May 9 11:13 Current -> A
lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 3 May 9 11:12 CurrentJDK -> 1.5

Eclipse should run as it normally does.

If your code project(s) don’t require SWT, you can use 1.6 as an Installed JRE within Eclipse. Go to Preferences -> Java -> Installed JREs -> Add…. Select “Mac OS VM” and point it to:

/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Home

Building projects and running JBoss using the 1.6 seems to work just fine.

Lessons Learned

After about 5 months, I’ve decided that it’s time to move on to another gig. I’ve learned a few things, and I’m posting them here in the hopes that the lessons might be helpful to other programmers and techies-at-large.

Working in a small business as the sole do-it-all technology person has its unique challenges. It can be very fulfilling to be the sole expert and “enabler,” if that turns you on. But the flip side is that management might not really understand or care that much about their technology. Is there a reasonable budget for what they’re trying to accomplish? Do they understand, at a high level, your projects and how they contribute to the mission? Are technology projects considered a burdensome mystery or something valuable and embraced by the company? Question the reasons why there’s only one tech guy/girl and whether that seems right.

Another thing to assess is whether you can deal with taking over the existing codebase. I’ve taken over other code before with success, retaining what was good and doing clean up as necessary. At this past gig, things looked reasonably tidy at a first glance, but as time progressed, I realized a ton of abstractions weren’t in place, and those that did exist didn’t make sense. Some refactoring might have been interesting to do, but this endeavor wasn’t valued when I proposed it as a project.

Lastly, I think it’s important to be wary of promises about the future. Even with the best of intentions, things change quickly at small businesses. The projects I was initially excited about got perpetually deferred for various reasons, and I found myself preoccupied with doing maintenance code fixes, making cosmetic tweaks, performing server administration, and providing support for third party software (which I really don’t like to do). The company needed these things done, so I did them with as much cheer as I could muster, hoping we’d eventually get to a place where some solid new development could occur (and I could sneak in some refactoring)—that’s what floats my boat. But it became to clear to me that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

So that’s that. It’s a shame it didn’t work out, especially since I actually liked everyone I worked with. At least it’s an amicable departure, and I hope to be involved in hiring a replacement who might be a better fit for their current needs than I am.

The new gig? Java. Been catching up on it, since it’s been a few years. Oh, it feels so nice to have package namespaces, real data types, full-featured APIs, and real object-orientedness again. Like coming home.

A Quick Observation

For some potential upcoming work, I’ve been catching up on the changes made to Java over the last few years, and exploring the popular frameworks and libraries now in use.

Folks on reddit.com harshly criticize the bloat, unnecessary complexity, and huge runtime requirements for Java. They have their points. But I have to say, having worked on perl and PHP lately, where good code organization is the exception and not the norm, looking at Java again is a very welcome change.

The APIs for stuff like Servlets, Faces, EJBs, and Hibernate may be difficult to learn and remember, but at the very least, I find I always know where to look for something, and it’s usually where I expect to find it. In my book, over-abstraction is the lesser evil compared to not enough.