Apple Computer Inc launched a new release of its Java Virtual Machine yesterday, claiming it to be five times faster than the previous versions of Java on Macintosh, as measured by CaffeineMark3 benchmarks. Apple’s senior VP of software engineering Avie Tevanian, who shot from obscurity to fame when he testified at the Microsoft Corp antitrust trial in Washington last year, said that customers would immediately notice the performance boost in MacOS Runtime for Java 2.1, which is based on the Java Development Kit 1.16 from Sun Microsystems Inc, and is available for free download from Apple’s web site. Versions of the Java Virtual Machine for Macintosh were notoriously slow in comparison to the comparable Microsoft versions for the Pentium II. The speed-up is primarily attributable to Apple’s use, as expected (CI No 3,408), of Symantec Corp’s Just In Time Java compiler for the PowerPC, including enhanced graphics, imaging, threading and network performance. It also includes AppleScript support so that Java applets will work with other AppleScript applications, support for QuickTime for Java, which will be included in the next release of QuickTime, and support for the Swing user interface toolkit, which replace the unpopular and hard to use AWT abstract windowing toolkit and brings the Macintosh look-and-feel to Java applications. MRJ 2.1 needs a PowerPC-based Mac, MacOS 7.61 or later, and at least 32Mb RAM to run.