MacInTouch Reader Reports

Mac Marginalization: Law

Mar. 24, 2009
Mar. 25, 2009
Mar. 26, 2009
Mar. 27, 2009
Mar. 28, 2009
Apr. 1, 2009
Apr. 2, 2009
Apr. 3, 2009
Apr. 17, 2009
Oct. 12, 2009
Oct. 14, 2009
Jan. 6, 2010
Jan. 7, 2010
Mar. 24, 2009

item.89417

Nick Sutphin

Just registered to do electronic filing on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit -- which promises to be a huge improvement over the sometimes gigantic paper-based filings of days past.

The system, which is PDF-based, will not work with Macs. At all -- doesn't matter which browser you use. Won't work in OS X, and won't work when running Parallels or Boot Camp.

Really, I have to run a Windows box to upload a PDF?

item.89446

Brian Taugher

We use the CM/ECF Filer or PACER Login system in California, and Firefox works very well. The system itself is very clunky, poorly thought out, slow to use and has a painful interface, but it works. I don't know about the 6th Circuit, but the help desks in California are quite helpful, try calling them.

item.89460

Gregory Weston

Nick Sutphin comments:

"Just registered to do electronic filing on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit -- which promises to be a huge improvement over the sometimes gigantic paper-based filings of days past.
The system, which is PDF-based, will not work with Macs. At all -- doesn't matter which browser you use. Won't work in OS X, and won't work when running Parallels or Boot Camp.
Really, I have to run a Windows box to upload a PDF?"

A Mac using Windows under Boot Camp *is* a Windows box. If it's not working even in that scenario, I'd say there's something more complicated or specific here than a typical marginalization issue.

item.89494

Steven MacDonald

Re:

"At all -- doesn't matter which browser you use. Won't work in OS X, and won't work when running Parallels or Boot Camp.
Really, I have to run a Windows box to upload a PDF?"

Since a Mac running Boot Camp/Windows is a Windows box my guess is that you have some other problem with how you are accessing or creating the forms.

item.89496

Unseelie

Re:

Just registered to do electronic filing on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit -- which promises to be a huge improvement over the sometimes gigantic paper-based filings of days past.
The system, which is PDF-based, will not work with Macs. At all -- doesn't matter which browser you use. Won't work in OS X, and won't work when running Parallels or Boot Camp.

That makes no sense, if you're running Boot Camp, you ARE using a Windows box. What are they doing, checking the manufacturer of the machine and blocking access?

Mar. 25, 2009

item.89443

Bob Mcdowell

From the US Court of Appeals - Six Circuit: FAQ:

NOTE TO MAC USERS: There is an issue using an Apple Macintosh with the new version of the ECF program (Release 2.0.2). Apple does not currently support the version of JAVA (version1.6) that is necessary for ECF. At the present time it appears that the only way to interface with ECF is to use one of the parallel operating system products, such as Fusion or Parallels, that allow a Mac to mimic the Windows operating system.

item.89444

Bradford Riendeau

I presume the Sixth Circuit is using the PACER system.
It will work with Macs.

You need to set your browser up so that the
default .pdf program is Adobe Acrobat Reader.
There is some issue with Preview.

I have been accessing PACER in the Northern District of New York for five or six years using Firefox set up this way.

It may be that the Sixth Circuit's help guys have a PC troglodyte problem.

My impression is that PACER is actually a Unix based system.

It lets you browse your disk to upload pdf formatted files. And Macs are very adept at converting using the print menu.

Try contacting some of the help people at your local district court, or one that has implemented PACER.

item.89527

George Qualley

CM/ECF Filer and PACER here in both Iowa's Federal Courts and the Eighth Circuit and I've never had a problem with my Macs...

item.89489

Stephen Clark

What Nick Sutphin encountered looks to be some kind of PowerPoint slideshow masquerading as a PDF document. What I was able to access though may be only training guides, not the actual on-line filing entity.

It's possible what's presented on the ECF at:

http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/internet/cm_ecf/cm_ecf.htm

... is for training and familiarization only.

Not being a member of the 6th Circuit bar I can't log in to get to the actual form submission files.

Under General Information the files shown are verifiable PDF's. Under Registration, Safari 3.2.1 displays a proper on-line data entry form that appears to be fully functional.

Perhaps someone with the proper qualifications can elucidate on whether the 6th Circuit is truly Windows-only or not.

item.89514

MacInTouch Reader

Using developer mode in Safari (Preferences, Advanced), you can tell Safari to lie about the browser being used (e.g., the user agent). Might solve the problem.

item.89553

Nick Sutphin

The Sixth Circuit's ECF site uses an incredibly ugly implementation of Java, and runs only on Windows. Lots of pop-ups, and s.l.o.w... It has nothing to do with the main PACER site, which works fine, or with any of the district courts. It's as if someone's idiot son-in-law was given a no-bid contract.

Mar. 26, 2009

item.89562

Colleen Thompson

Don't forget to consider Crossover, which implements Windows IE (in a Windows 95 bottle, or emulation-thingy) fairly well. I can't answer for how it deals with Java, though.

I recently got a real estate agent's copy of RealFast to work with Crossover. Beats me how I did it; the installer didn't work, so after some flailing around I just put files where it looked like they should go, and he's happy as a clam so far.

Crossover (at codeweavers.com) has a 30 day free trial, so it can't hurt to try.

item.89588

Jim DeWitt

It's the same problem with Macs at the 9th Circuit. Can anyone say authoritatively if Snow Leopard will have Java 1.6? That might solve the problem.

Let's all recognize this appears to be pure programmer arrogance. Nothing in the Court of Appeals ECF system seems to actually _require_ Java 1.6; it seems to have been used only because it could be used...

item.89602

MacInTouch Reader

Sounds like 6th wants to use Java 6 for whatever reason.
  http://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp
shows current version for Windows, Linix, Solaris is version 6, update 13 and its available from Sun.

Apple took responsibility for Java on the Mac so you can't get the latest from Sun.

Page at
  http://browserspy.dk/java.php
shows my Intel Mac running 10.5.6 has 1.5.0_16 (1.5.0_16-133) from Apple Inc.

However,
  http://developer.apple.com/java/
says:

Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 2

Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 2 delivers improved reliability and compatibility for Java SE 6, J2SE 5.0 and J2SE 1.4.2 on Mac OS X 10.5.4 and later. The release updates Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_07, J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_16, and J2SE 1.4.2 to 1.4.2_18. The update is available through Software Update and the Apple Support website.

For more details on this update, visit:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2733

The above article and
  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3210
do not say what should be set to tell a website you have Java 6 which seems to be at update 7 if I am interpreting Apple's naming scheme correctly.

In fact, it says "Following the installation of Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 2, Applet Preferences are no longer available in the "Java Preferences" application located in (/Applications/Utilities/Java)", which is incorrect because there is a Java Preferences.app at that location which will allow you to set Java 6 as first choice.

Note that Java 6 is only supported on 64-bit systems which should include my Mac Pro 2008.

Mar. 27, 2009

item.89643

Andy Fore

In the "Java Preferences.app" in "Applications -> Utilities -> Java" you can set the order that browsers will use for the Java Virtual Machine.

On my MacBook Pro, running 10.5.6, I find the following versions listed:

- J2SE 5.0 32-bit
- Java SE 6 64-bit
- J2SE 5.0 64-bit
- J2SE 1.4.2 32-bit

The default is to use 32-bit J2SE 5.0, as this has been deemed the most compatible in the past. As new applications and services are being updated I have been forced to change my default to be Java SE 6 64-bit. Note, that there is no 32-bit Java SE 6 available and that the option to use Java SE 6 is also not available on PowerPC computers.

item.89662

MacInTouch Reader

Sun has end-of-lifed Java 1.5, which is why the mainstream world has moved on to Java 1.6. Apple has dropped the ball in not making Java 1.6 generally available (i.e. the preferred version by default) on OS X both by limiting it to a 64-bit implementation, and by not bringing it up-to-speed fast enough (Apple is still distributing 1.6.0_07, Sun is up to 1.6.0_13).

Mar. 28, 2009

item.89720

Michael Wineke

1.6.0_xx
1 = major version
6 = minor version
0 = update version
_xx = what - are you kidding me?

item.89723

MacInTouch Reader

The Java story gets even worse.

Even if you have Leopard, even if you have a 64-bit Intel Mac, even if you have manually set "Java SE 6" as your preferred runtime...you still cannot run Java 1.6 applets in a browser on your Mac. At all.

Apple's Java 1.6 runtime is 64-bit only, and the generally used browsers (Firefox, Safari, Opera, Omniweb, iCab...) are all 32-bit. So even if you drag Java 6 to the top of the list in the Java Preferences app, your browser will skip over it.

As a point of comparison, Sun supports and maintains Java SE 6 on 32- and 64-bit versions of Linux, Solaris, and Windows...down to Windows 2000. That's right, you can run that applet (slowly....) in a browser on your old Pentium II PC with Win2K and 64MB of memory, but not on a fully-loaded eight-core Mac Pro with Leopard.

Apr. 1, 2009

item.89861

David Converse

Re:

"Sun has end-of-lifed Java 1.5, which is why the mainstream world has moved on to Java 1.6. Apple has dropped the ball in not making Java 1.6 generally available (i.e. the preferred version by default) on OS X both by limiting it to a 64-bit implementation, and by not bringing it up-to-speed fast enough (Apple is still distributing 1.6.0_07, Sun is up to 1.6.0_13)."

Don't lay this all at Apple's feet. Sun is EOLing a standard without making sure that one of its major technology partners and distributors is current. Sun writes a Java implementation for everyone BUT Apple, and Apple has to wait until it is released before they can port it to OS X. That means in practice, Sun has heavy influence over part of Apple's development schedule, which is never a good thing.

Sun should step up and do some|more|all of the work to create the Mac version. They should also work better on backward compatibility. Java is a mature technology with fairly known uses and implementations. There is no reason that a website (where the idea is universal compatibility) should not work with client software older than a year or two.

Does this remind anyone of how Adobe handles Flash?

Oh and BTW... who knows what will happen if IBM buys Sun. I suspect that an acquisition would be FOR Java on the software side.

Apr. 2, 2009

item.89899

Charles Wise

Apple develops its own Java because it chose to do so. Apple went its own way on the Java port and deviated extensively from the standard code base. The intent was to allow Java applications to look as good on OS/X as native applications. Apple gave up on that. The Java port is now receiving minimal attention by Apple.

If you stick with Apple's releases you can run a fairly current version of Java on recent Intel machines. Apple has left previous machines back on Java 1.5.

If you want to run cutting-edge releases of Java you'll have to spelunk around http://openjdk.java.net looking for the BSD port (OS/X is a BSD variant).

item.89923

Raymond Urban

Apple should buy Sun instead of IBM. Such a purchase would be an excellent use of some of Apple's pile of cash and would put Apple in great positions with Java and Sun's server and workstation users.

item.89926

Lyman Taylor

Re:

Don't lay this all at Apple's feet. Sun is EOLing a standard without making sure that one of its major technology partners and distributors is current. Sun writes a Java implementation for everyone BUT Apple, and Apple has to wait until it is released before they can port it to OS X.

Java 1.5 won't complete EOL until October 30 2009. By October/November 2009 early adopter versions of Java 1.7 should be out. This is a not premature EOL at all.

So Sun should delay their software releases if one of the smaller (in terms of market) ports is lagging behind? That's not how major, multi-platform software ships (where platforms is > 2).

Apple is synchronizing java releases with Mac OS releases. Sun doesn't make them do that. Apple chooses to do that. They don't have to. Would have been nice to have a java 1.6 on 10.4 also and they likely could have released earlier also.

Apple is just late. For example
http://lists.apple.com/archives/java-dev//2007/Oct/msg00371.html

IBM manages to get ports out for z/OS, AIX , and System i (AS/400) before Apple does. That's 3 ports for three different operating systems. IBM having an Application Server has a very large java skill set to pull off of, so wouldn't be surpised if there were a much large group of folks applied to their ports.

Some of Apple's additional work has to do with Carbon/Cocoa/GUI differences that are bound to leak through. For instance SWT only works with 32-bit Carbon.
Going to chuck the Eclipse folks.
http://www.damnhandy.com/2008/11/29/eclipse-on-mac-java-6-reveals-more-swt-shortcomings/
They did with 1.6 being 64-bit only ( and dumping 64-bit Carbon pretty late in the game. I know the excuse that Apple hinted heavily that Cocoa was the future for while.). Herding all the developers into 64-bit Cocoa isn't going to improve coverage. Another factor complicating the Mac OS port is JNI and Universal libraries.

In short, one of the problems is that Apple very much appears trying to minimize the amount of jdk work they have to do. That's not Sun's fault. If Apple has 32 & 64 bit and intel & PowerPC ports they are responsible for they have to step up to the work or cut it short. The latter seems to be their approach.

As of now 1.6 and 1.7 are open.
http://openjdk.java.net/

Before making it open other vendors got access to the sources if they paid. There is no reason why Sun in that context would hoard the code until after the release date. Apple likely could have gotten a late alpha and/or beta snapshots (at least to work on any core JVM/Hotspot porting issues). It isn't like Sun previously unleashed versions of java without a beta window. If Apple was waiting until the code was completely frozen before starting that was a mistake on their part.

What you can somewhat lay at Sun's feet is that Java gets bigger with every release. So every new version has an even bigger library and a larger battery of tests to pass.


Sun should step up and do some|more|all of the work to create the Mac version.

Back in 2008 Sun offered to put the JDK on the iPhone OS.
http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/03/07/sun-iphone-java_1.html
http://blogs.sun.com/ontherecord/entry/sun_announces_intent_to_create

Did Apple OK them doing it? Nope (or it is highly classified secret). Now it could have been a stunt. They knew it wouldn't likely be allowed since the iPhone OS license blocks other runtime environments.


They should also work better on backward compatibility.

They already do. Your java 1.3 , 1.4 , 1.5 bytecodes with only weird corner cases run on 1.6 JVM. You are trying to claim forward compatibility. That java 1.(n + 2) bytecodes should run on java 1.n JVMs. No way. That essentially means stagnation. It isn't Sun's fault that the some developers are compiling source code that is compatible with 1.3, 1.4 , 1.5 , 1.6 jvms with only the latest compiler. That's the developer's choice.

item.89952

Robert Mohns

Re:

"Sun writes a Java implementation for everyone BUT Apple, and Apple has to wait until it is released before they can port it to OS X."

Turns out to be not quite that simple. There was a lot of discussion here about Java on Mac after the release of Leopard last year. I'd like to point out a particularly useful post from Java developer Mike H:

http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/java/topic4762.html#item.68546

Here's a key excerpt describing the technical & business decisions:

"The reason Apple's Java implementation is so far behind is that Apple chose to handle updating the JVM rather than Sun. Why? Because OS X has such a radically different architecture than Windows, Linux, and Solaris that Sun screwed up several things with their first Apple JVM and the performance was noticeably worse [...] Rather than have a bad Java implementation make Apple look bad, Apple said they'd handle it."

Mike also noted that implementing a Java VM isn't quite as simple as it sounds:

"There is no technical reason Java 6 can't run on ANY platform. Hell, there's people porting Java to Amigas and iPods. The problem is that it's an enormous amount of work to create the VM. What? There's already one for OS X? Well, yes. But each release of Java starts to use more and more OS functionality (Java 6 seriously ties itself to DirectX on Windows to get performance boosts. It also fixes its ties to OpenGL). This gets tricky and requires serious commitment from the developers. Plus, throw in OS improvements (Spotlight should be accessible via a java File Chooser) and its a significant amount of work."

Apr. 3, 2009

item.89963

Steven Wicinski

To Raymond Urban and his idea that Apple should buy Sun.

That would be a horrible idea. First, they don't need to in order to get to Java (now that it is open or public or whatever someone else said it is at v1.6 and 1.7).

And what else would Apple get? Server hardware? Apple has never shown commitment to the enterprise. And Sun's customers would probably start bailing very quickly, as they would not want to start laying their businesses on Apple's secretive decision-making process. Why do you think so many were irritated with them dropping the xRAID. It wasn't because it was a killer device, it was because it was EOL'd with nary a word from Apple.

If you used Sun workstations extensively for your work, and Apple bought them up, would you not be concerned that they'd kill Solaris and try to convert everyone over to OS X? Drop the hardware and try to convince you that the only computers you need is either Mac Pros or xServes? Even if Apple said they had full commitment to the Sun platform, how many would believe it?

Apr. 17, 2009

item.90681

Richard J. Donovan

You Mac guys shouldn't feel marginalized exclusively. The Sixth Circuit's ECF system fails in Linux too.

Maybe the trouble has to do with the difference between 32- and 64-bit versions of Java. I don't know yet. Right after the submission of login information, Firefox 3.0.8 displayed an error message, Konqueror didn't, and (in virtual machine) IE 7 and Safari didn't either.

The PACER help desk didn't get past "We don't hear much of that Linux 'round these parts," or words to such effect. Thus I needed to put Java on virtual IE, and file the stuff on deadline.

Subsidiary rant: What a kludge, once I got there.

No such problems with the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio, where I've filed plenty of times, and a few other districts as well.

Oct. 12, 2009

item.102282

MacInTouch Reader

RealLegal is developing a monopoly for court reporter etranscripts. To read these transcripts one has to use their proprietary Windows viewer with a .ptx extension. Their viewer is freely downloadable in Windows or Classic.

It looks like there is no interest in developing an OSX viewer.

Oct. 14, 2009

item.102337

Bradford C. Riendeau

The system used by the Charleston County South Carolina Clerk of Courts is only accessible through Active-X. I don't practice there, but a client came to me with a notice of entry of an order and he could not get access to the order without acceding to Microsoft's attempt at another monopoly. Court staff was kind enough to forward the order in .pdf format after I complained. A similar issue with forms at New York's Appellate Division 3d Department was solved with a complaint and a call to the vendor of the software, whose system allowed the creation and posting of .pdf files but which apparently the IT people implementing the system were either unaware of, or did not realize the number of Mac & Unix based users. Because these systems are being used to replace mailing a paper copy, and because of the absolute right of a party to know what is going on in a case, it is important to push back and demand universal access.

Jan. 6, 2010

item.107206

Danni Liebman

Re:

"The system used by the Charleston County South Carolina Clerk of Courts is only accessible through Active-X...."

Just ran into a similar problem here, in Clark County, Washington. Effective this week, attorneys are no longer permitted to check out files (blamed on budget woes). We can peruse them at the clerk's office, but if we need copies of documents, it's 50 cents/page for hardcopy, 25 cents/page if emailed (!). As an alternative, we're encouraged to subscribe to the web access system they launched early last year. It's not inexpensive, but now that they've got this new "incentive", I'm betting they enrolled more subscribers in the last 2-3 weeks than they had the rest of last year. When I inquired about Mac compatibility, the response from the support vendor, through the clerk, was that the system is only supported in Internet Explorer, but that maybe I could find the old Mac version of IE somewhere... And the clerk helpfully said that she'd heard of a program called Virtual PC for Mac. But it turns out that my Windows friends who'd ditched IE long ago for Firefox, or more recently Chrome, had the same problems with access and functionality. The system *requires* IE, presumably because of the Active X controls. In this day and age, sheesh.

Jan. 7, 2010

item.107308

Bradford C. Riendeau

The vendors of systems and the people that hire them or write the spec's are a major problem. The Washington State system with active-x issues is like a system I encountered online from Charleston County, South Carolina trying to get a document from a client in New York. The client had been mailed a notice of online access, not the order. Online access was illusory. There is a subculture of niche programmers out there who feed off large unsophisticated organizations and often are behind the curve. They went through the real estate industry ten to fifteen years ago. Now, it appears, they are working through the legal bureaucracy. The irony is that, in general, the Federal Courts have a working platform independent system, and I don't think they are using an outside vendor.

This is an area where lawyers and citizens really need to raise hell. Money wasted and justice denied, when parties can't access public documents there is no due process. Lack of access to public documents creates a seed from which the cancer of ignorance can only grow.

As to not allowing access to the physical file ... that won't stand up on a due process level. To avoid copy costs one alternative is to take an inexpensive digital camera and a copy stand and click away. That's how microfilm was made and it works. It takes a lot of images to fill up a 2 gb SD card.

Perhaps we should brainstorm on potential ways to litigate this issue.


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