Pulling the plug

Apple disable Java plug-in on OS X

In a security update released yesterday, Apple have disabled the Java browser plug-in on OS X. This comes in the wake of several Java-based zero-day exploits, as well as accusations that Oracle are failing to patch vulnerabilities quickly. Many publications urged readers to uninstall Java in order to protect themselves, a storm of bad PR which appears to be continuing unabated.

Apple has offered no official statement regarding the removal of the Java plug-in.
However, it is worth noting that this update does not remove Java altogether from the system, and that applications that rely on Java, such as OpenOffice, Vuze and Photoshop, will be unaffected.

With client-side Java rapidly disappearing in favour of HTML5, this shouldn’t affect too many developers, and users can still re-install the plugin if they really need to. Still, this apparently leaves two versions of Java, SE 7 and SE 6 running side-by-side. And it’s embarrassing that Java is now considered so insecure that, as a safety precaution, OS X users are by default not allowed to use it. It seems Java’s future on the desktop is looking increasingly bleak.

Elliot Bentley

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