Oracle Makes It Easier Than Ever to Purge Unneeded Java Program from Your Computer
By Charles Miller
Regular readers of this column will already be aware of how often I excoriate computer software makers, hardware manufacturers, and service providers for bad products and practices not in the best interest of us, the consumers. And, oh boy, there is never a shortage of opportunities!
So it is only fair then that when a company takes an action that should serve as a good example to others that I commend and thank them. My thanks go out this week to Oracle Corporation.
First, the backstory: Java is a programming language and computing platform first released by Sun Microsystems in 1995 and one of the core technologies that brought the Internet as we know it today into existence.
However, as time passed, newer technologies such as Micromedia Flash and HTML5 largely replaced Java as the most popular programming language on the web. Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010 and to this day continues to provide Java for use in phones, thermostats, cash registers, automobiles, and practically any appliance you care to name. So while Java as a programming language for websites has declined in favor, Java continues to grow in popularity as a computing platform for billions of devices.
Java is fast, secure, and reliable—just not on older websites. Java shares the duality of being both safe and unsafe. The reason Java can become unsafe in computers is because people often fail to update when they should while cybercrooks continue to discover new ways to exploit Java to take over your computer. Fortunately, older Java versions are rarely a problem on less-capable devices simply because hackers are less interested in taking over your refrigerators or thermostat.
While surfing the Internet, you might have installed Java on your computer to view a website. Even though you have not been back to that page for years and have not needed Java, the now-outdated version could be still installed on your computer waiting for cybercrooks to discover and exploit.
In 2013, the US Department of Homeland Security warned everyone to disable or uninstall Java on their computers.
Oracle’s own website states, “We highly recommend that you uninstall all older versions of Java from your system. Keeping old versions of Java on your [computer] system presents a serious security risk.”
We all know how much attention the average computer users pay to such warnings, so recently Oracle started including a new popup message you may see if you have Java installed: “It appears you have not used Java on your system in over six months. We recommend that you uninstall it by clicking the remove button below.”
You then have the option to click on update to continue or remove if you do not need Java anymore.
Kudos to Oracle Corporation for this proactive move. Never in all of my years working in the field of information technology have I known any software company to appreciate that its product has outlived its usefulness. This will forever stand out as a shining example that all other software companies should follow.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.