Compiling Java 7.0 on OS X

Since the announcement by Apple last week about deprecating Java on OS X, there’s been a few people wanting to know how to compile OpenJDK on the Mac.

Although I’ve not done this for JDK 6, this article cover’s how to compile and use the current development version of JDK 7.0 on OS X.

First a few notes:

  1. This only enables Java 7 within an X environment, native UI’s are not supported – one of the main parts of the Apple JVM
  2. When I tested this by running Netbeans 7.0 M2 within X the menus were a bit screwey – try it you’ll see what I mean
  3. These instructions are for 10.5.8 but should work for 10.6.x
  4. This is for Intel processors only

So as a word of warning: Don’t expect this to either work, or work well – and don’t use this in production – JDK7 isn’t due out for another 12 months or so…

Ok, first we need a bootstrap JDK6 environment. This is needed to do some of the initial java compilation during the build. For this the apple JVM can’t be used so we need to download and install the i386 Soylate binaries JDK – don’t get the amd64 version, get the i386 one…

Once you have it downloaded, copy it to /usr/local/soylatte16-i386-1.0.3 and test it:

sabrina:~ peter$ /usr/local/soylatte16-i386-1.0.3/bin/java -version
java version "1.6.0_03-p3"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_03-p3-landonf_19_aug_2008_14_55-b00)
Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (build 1.6.0_03-p3-landonf_19_aug_2008_14_55-b00, mixed mode)

Next create a blank directory under which we will build everything. I’m using ~/dev/ojdk but you could use any directory. Under this we need to create a couple of directories and some symlinks:

sabrina:~ peter$ mkdir -p dev/ojdk
sabrina:~ peter$ cd dev/ojdk
sabrina:~ peter$ mkdir -p bin ALT_COMPILER_PATH
sabrina:~ peter$ cd ALT_COMPILER_PATH
sabrina:~ peter$ ln -s /usr/bin .SOURCE
sabrina:~ peter$ ln -s .SOURCE/g++-4.0 g++
sabrina:~ peter$ ln -s .SOURCE/gcc-4.0 gcc
sabrina:~ peter$ cd ../bin

Now in the bin directory you need to create two scripts. Fortunately these are readily available from – specifically and Copy these two files into the bin directory and ensure they are executable.

Now open in your favourite editor and find the line with ALT_COMPILER_PATH in it. Change it to hold the full path to the ALT_COMPILER_PATH directory defined above. In my case this looks like:


Next we need to checkout a copy of the source:

sabrina:~ peter$ cd ~/dev/ojdk
sabrina:~ peter$ hg fclone bsd

We should now be setup. The last step is to run a build. This can be done at any time. It will check for any updates, clear down and then run a full build:

sabrina:~ peter$ cd ~/dev/ojdk/bsd
sabrina:~ peter$ source ../bin/

If all goes well, after about 20 minutes you should see something like the following at the end of the build:

testing build: ./build/bsd-amd64/j2sdk-image/bin/java -version

openjdk version "1.7.0-internal"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0-internal-peter_2010_10_25_11_19-b00)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 19.0-b05, mixed mode)

If the build succedes the last step is to install it under /usr/local/java-1.7.0:

sabrina:~ peter$ cd ~/dev/ojdk/bsd
sabrina:~ peter$ source ../bin/

To use Java 7, you need to simply point the app to the installed application, usually by setting JAVA_HOME=/usr/local/java-1.7.0 and running $JAVA_HOME/bin/java…

sabrina:bin peter$ /usr/local/java-1.7.0/bin/java -version
openjdk version "1.7.0-internal"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0-internal-peter_2010_10_25_11_19-b00)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 19.0-b05, mixed mode)


  1. Thank you for this. For some reason the “f*” commands dont’ seem to work for me (fclone, fpull). I instead used the regular version of the commands (clone, pull). When I run the build however, I get the following.

    Really appreciate the article, btw.

    > ../bin/

    *** updating bsdport sources…

    pulling from
    searching for changes
    no changes found

    *** cleaning previous build products …

    mv: rename build to build.del: No such file or directory

    removing references to last build

    *** building bsd-port: java 1.7.0 …

    Makefile:69: jdk/make/common/shared/Defs-control.gmk: No such file or directory
    /bin/sh: -F”: command not found
    /bin/sh: -c: line 0: syntax error near unexpected token `|’
    /bin/sh: -c: line 0: `| -c ‘^1.[5-6].[0-9]”
    /bin/sh: : command not found
    make: *** No rule to make target `jdk/make/common/shared/Defs-control.gmk’. Stop.

    testing build: ./build/bsd-amd64/j2sdk-image/bin/java -version

    ../bin/ line 122: ./build/bsd-amd64/j2sdk-image/bin/java: No such file or directory

    1. A “reverse fork” would be a “merge”. But that’s not what this is, is it? No code from Harmony will be meergd into OpenJDK, or am I wrong?

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