Eric Stewart: Running Off At The Mouth

Snow Leopard and Java – Using Older Versions of Java

by Eric Stewart on Feb.09, 2010, under Computers, Technology

The boss called me today and asked me if I had a solution to get Banner/Oasis running under Safari in Snow Leopard.  Well, most of my customer base doesn’t actually use the app, and those that have Mac systems also have VMWare Fusion running … so, worst case, they can always use their Windows install for it.  So, I hadn’t run into the issue before.

But, this is not ideal, and I’m always looking to score some quick brownie points with the guy that signs my timesheets, so I did some quick testing and research and here’s what I discovered … first, the caveats:

  • You should have admin access to the Mac
  • You should be tres comfortable with the command line
  • You will be downloading off of a site that might be considered somewhat suspect

The how-to I got to is hosted off of the wiki for the OneSwarm project.  This was the first I’d heard of it and they apparently are hosting the java packages from older versions of the Mac OS on their site for their own needs.  The concern I had when I looked at the URLs for the packages is that it appeared to be a user home directory – something that’s not always that permanent.  So, use at your own risk.

The differences for me start at the “Java Preferences” application; once you’re there, for our Banner/Oasis system, it was sufficient to use the J2SE 5.0 64 bit versions over the others (no need to go strictly 32 bit, and no need to run Safari in 32 bit mode).  I did have to change both the “Applet” and “Application” orders for our Banner implementation to run properly.  Depending on your application/situation, you may need to tweak the order to use 32 bit, but it wasn’t necessary for my situation.

I also did not need to use Java 1.4.  But you might, so the instructions are there.

I would assume that Firefox should be okay for most browser based applications that would need this tweak.  I haven’t tested it as that was not what I was originally asked.

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