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Oracle releases Java SE 7 Update 6, will support Java for Mac OS X

Oracle said it would begin providing timely security updates to Java for Mac OS X.

Oracle announced it is now providing Java SE 7 Update 6 for Mac OS X. Java Runtime Environment (JRE) will be available for download on and auto-updates for OS X will be provided by Oracle at the same time they come out on Windows.

In addition, Java Platform, JavaFX 2.2 and JavaFX Scene Builder are now available, the company said in an announcement on Wednesday.

“Oracle continues to expand our support for the Java platform and now, for the first time, consumers and developers have access to the latest Java SE features and security updates across all major operating systems: Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X,” said Hasan Rizvi, senior vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware and Java Products, Oracle.

HTML and Java have seen increasingly targeted by attackers. Experts point out that much of the increase can be attributed to the Black Hole exploit kit, an automated attack toolkit that receives consistent updates with new exploits. While those toolkits attack primarily Windows machines, researchers have been documenting new Mac malware in the wake of the platform's market share increase. Experts say concern about slow and inconsistent updates to Java on Mac OS X has been driven by the detection of the Flashback malware, which targeted vulnerable Java installations and ended up infecting hundreds of thousands of Mac systems.

The Oracle announcement brings the Java and Oracle relationship full circle, said Paul Ducklin, head of technology, Asia Pacific at Sophos Ltd. 

Initially, Mac OS X 10.6 came with Java, Ducklin wrote in a blog post. This meant that Java updates were released with other Apple updates, lagging behind Oracle’s release, and sometimes significantly so.  When Mac OS X 10.7 came out, Java was missing from the default operating system distribution and had to be installed individually by users. Now, Oracle will publish Java for OS X.

“I suggest you update as soon as practicable,” Ducklin advised Mac users.

With Java SE 7 Update 6 comes a Java Development Kit (JDK) for Linux on ARM v6 and v7. This JDK will address general purpose ARM systems. JavaFX 2.2 introduces complete Linux support for x86 and x64 systems. JavaFX Scene Builder is a visual layout tool for designing user interface screens. Users can create screens by dragging and positioning components from a palette onto a scene.

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