Eclipse 3.4.1, OSX and Java 1.6

Eclipse application icon

I recently downloaded Eclipse 3.4.1 for Mac OSX, and tried starting it using the icon. It did not work, and I noticed a message in /var/log/system.log telling me that the JVM could not be loaded.

After some Googling, I found out that Eclipse is not compatible with the new 64bit version of JDK 1.6 for the Mac. After switching back to 1.5 (luckaly Apple ships all JVM’s with it’s OS) it all worked. Here’s how you switch back to JDK 1.5 on a Mac:

cd /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions
sudo ln -fhsv 1.5 CurrentJDK

This makes the CurrentJDK link to point to the 1.5 installation of the Java JDK.

Bonus tip for today: While you’re at it, increase the memory used by eclipse by opening the bundle (right click -> show package contents) and edit Contents/MacOS/eclipse.ini. Change the “-Xmx256m” line to read “-Xmx512m”, and eclipse should be much happier with you.

Ofcourse there’s lots more you can do there, but I always say “keep it simple”.


2 Responses to Eclipse 3.4.1, OSX and Java 1.6

  1. Rob Manning says:

    Did you see any indication as to when Eclipse 3.4.1 will be supported on Apple’s 1.6 JVM?


  2. rolfje says:

    It seems that the reason for Eclipse not to run on Java 1.6 on a Mac is that the SWT libaries are compiled with 32 bit carbon code. Java 1.6 on the mac is 64 bit, which would require a recompile (and possibly some fixing) of the SWT libaries in 64 bit Cocoa.

    64 Bit support for SWT is being worked on, and apparently Eclipse 3.5 M4 is going to include 64bit SWT support, and will make run Eclipse run on Java 1.6 on the Mac.

    Here’s a link to the Eclipse bug, which is already marked as “resolved”:

    It is believed that switching to 1.6 will improve responsiveness of Eclipse a bit, I can’t wait to try that out, together with Snow Leopard and maybe a new Macbook Pro with SSD 🙂

    But I’d have to win the lottery first…

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