Monday, 19 May 2014

Restoring Java 1.6 on a PowerPC Mac

The Problem

The kid's old G4 Mac Mini was superceeded last year by a more modern intel version which has taken over the duties of Web Browsing, Minecraft and StarCraft.

My oldest son used to live and breath Minecraft, but it fell out of favour a few months back and although the new server still runs his creations, it tends to only get used by his old friends. I think he wanted it to be packed with people, but as it's a small private server using a domestic internet connection I argued this wasn't really fair on the rest of us. As time went on it became less about creating and more about minecraft based activities, although there's some pretty amazing creative stuff on there.

It concerned me though that my server investment was being wasted, so I decided to introduce my two younger sons (5 and 7) to a very much simpler version of Minecraft. I added another service on port 25566 using server version 1.5.2, but then I ran into a problem.

My plan was to hook the old PowerPC Mac Mini to my TV and use that as a second machine, so both boys can play at the same time. This should avoid the "waiting for their turn" issues that we frequently get and be more fun for them. But somewhere along the way an Apple update has removed Java 1.6 (for security reasons) and dumped it back to 1.5, and this version won't run later versions of Minecraft or the loader. Apples recommendation, get it from Oracle (we don't supply it anymore)

Between a rock and a hard place.

I'll admit the G4 Mac Mini is getting as little old; I think I bought it in 2006 so a friend could edit his holiday video. It went on to serve as a loan machine for a few years until we finally set it up for the kids. If I'd have waited another 6 months it would have been an Intel version (sighs), but nobody saw the switch to Intel coming.

So guess what, Oracle don't supply a PowerPC version of Java anymore (in fact I'm not sure they ever did, because Apple still supplied it up to 1.6) None of the Apple update links for Java work anymore (archived) and any updates I do find just install later versions of 1.5, and there's little hope of 1.7!

I did manage to find some v1.6 files after the JavaV8 Apple update, but curiously it didnt show up in Java Preferences. Then when I hacked it into use by altering the symbolic links in /system/library/Frameworks/javaVMs/versions it politely informed me that it was the wrong CPU type.

/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/CurrentJDK/Commands/java -version
/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/CurrentJDK/Commands/java: Bad CPU type in executable

So I'm looking at scrapping this machine because it's CPU is not supported anymore, or find a creative way of getting around the problem.

Soylatte or Bust

After a lot more googling I found Soylatte, their site had binaries and after install I ran java -version is proudly reported version 1.7.

Add to your path to get it to run..

export PATH=/usr/local/soylatte16-amd64/bin:$PATH       
(or what ever you called your install dir)

I had high expectations, but this is a Beta Java Developer Kit (JDK), all we want is the Runtime or JRE. Something's not right though because I'm not able to get Minecraft to run and now Java Preferences fails to start.

I went back to googling for answers and ideas, but I didn't find anything new.

So what are my options now?
  • Chuck it in the skip. (buy intel one)
  • Install Linux MintPPC (more investigation required)
  • Replace logic board with Core 2 duo version. (not even sure this will work)

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