Eclipse 3.6 (aka Helios) will run on OpenJDK on Mac when it's released this year. This will free us from Apple's oft-criticized and historically slow release cycle of the Java VM.

With a little persistence and help from some committers at Eclipse, the most glaring problems were resolved:

  • bug 276564:Eclipse won't launch using JDK 7 because SWT native libraries don't load
  • bug 276763: [launcher] launcher fails to use OpenJDK-based VM when -vm is specified

If you're interested in trying it out, you'll need to get an integration build of Eclipse (see 3.6 Stream Integration Builds) I20100119-0800 or newer, or a nighly build N20100117-2000 or newer. Prior to these builds, running Ecilpse on OpenJDK on a mac was only possible with some trickery. You'll also need a working OpenJDK on your mac, which can be built from source using these instructions, or installed using mac ports.

Many thanks to the Eclipse team for helping, notably Andrew Niefer, Mike Wilson, Kevin Barnes, Grant Gayed, Felipe Heidrich, Thomas Watson, Steve Northover and Silenio Quarti.