Apple's strategy to develop its role in non-traditional markets continues to attract support, with Java developer ObjectVenture yesterday releasing software that allows Java developers to use Mac OS X effectively.

ObjectAssembler 2.0 is a Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) development platform that integrates with Sun One Studio. It offers a simplified approach to J2EE application design and deployment, and plugs into Sun's development platform.

Its release underlines the Mac's growing popularity in previously indifferent developer communities, agreed Bill Willis, ObjectVenture's director of engineering.

"OS X gives Macs great support for the latest Java technologies," he observed. "Not only can you now run the latest Java applications on Macs, you also have access to tools like ObjectAssembler to create Java applications that can run on any platform that supports Java. If you combine this with the ease of use of Macs, you get an appealing development platform for Java programmers," he explained.

Sun One Studio is a core component of Sun's Open Net Environment, its platform for enabling the development and delivery of Java-based services on demand. It's widely used for the creation of enterprise-level applications – not traditionally a major Apple market.

Three versions of ObjectAssembler are available. ObjectAssembler Standard is a scaled-down version of the solution that's available free to developers; ObjectAssembler Professional costs $499 per license, and supports most commonly-used Java components, including JSP 1.2 and J2EE; finally, ObjectAssembler Enterprise costs $1,999 per license. This includes a full use license for Sun's Pattern Catalog for application development.

At the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference yesterday, Jordan Hubbard, Apple's manager of BSD technologies, discussed the history of the Unix environment – both its decline from being the dominant computer operating system, and its loss of the desktop to Microsoft.

He said: "I think OS X can win the war that we (the Unix community) lost. A total of 25 million users is a compelling argument to win back independent software vendors." He also theorised that if Unix users switch to OS X they could potentially add some percentage points to Apple's market share, reports MacCentral.

The report confirms Apple to be debating whether to add more Unix features to the OS to woo Unix users; it also looks at some fundamental differences between the way Unix users relate with applications and hardware.

Apple's courting of developers from the open source world isn't US-centric, however. The company already plans to make its presence felt at LinuxExpo 2002, October 9-10 at London's Olympia 2.