Java Fix for Apple’s Snow Leopard

Monday, June 24, 2013 @ 11:06 AM gHale

Apple patched Java 6 last week for OS X Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion, fixing 34 flaws that Oracle addressed the same day for Windows.

The update reiterated Apple’s intent to keep patching Snow Leopard, the five-year-old operating system that remains the second-most-popular version on the Mac.

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Because Snow Leopard users cannot upgrade to Java 7 — Oracle’s newest edition requires Lion or its 2012 successor, Mountain Lion — they must rely on the older Java 6, which Apple maintains. Oracle itself deals out fixes for Java 7 bugs.

Apple is able to supply fixes for Java 6 because Oracle continues to investigate vulnerabilities and work up patches for the Windows version, even though it once pledged to retire the software in February. Oracle has not said how long it will continue to provide patches for Java 6 on Windows, and thus how long Apple will be able to issue security updates to customers running Snow Leopard.

In May Snow Leopard powered 25 percent of the Macs that went online, according to statistics from analytics vendor Net Applications.

There’s been little indication from Apple that it plans to stop patching Snow Leopard any time soon. Earlier this month the Apple issued its own security update for Snow Leopard.

A user can get the Java 6 update for Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion by selecting “Software Update” from the Apple menu, or by opening the Mac App Store application and clicking the Update icon at the top right. It is also possible to update by downloading it manually from Apple’s support site.

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