Don’t get brave
Java still lives on Windows XP
Let’s be frank: Windows 8.0 was an ungodly mashup of mobile and desktop, more akin to David Cronenberg’s Brundlefly creature than the relatively seamless Mac equivalent. There are also vast numbers of enterprises working with legacy systems that would be costly and time consuming to update. Little wonder then that so many users are clinging to good old Windows XP, or that so many users were outraged when Microsoft and Oracle announced their respective cessation of support for the operating system and Java on Windows XP.
According to Microsoft’s Java website, “Users may still continue to use Java 7 updates on Windows XP at their own risk, but support will only be provided against Microsoft Windows releases Windows Vista or later.” Logically, a good deal of XP loyalists jumped to the conclusion that “Java is dead on Windows XP,” given that with this withdrawal of support, should disaster strike, there may be no patch or workaround available to counter the problem.
This week, though Henrik Stahl - Oracle vice-president of product management in the Java Platform Group - has had enough of this doom mongering, issuing a statement to reassure customers that claims "Java no longer works on Windows XP" or "Oracle will stop Java updates from being applied on Windows XP,” are far from the mark.
Stahl writes that, for the foreseeable future, they expect “all versions of Java that were supported prior to the Microsoft de-support announcement to continue to work on Windows XP.” Moreover, there’s no looming danger of JDK 7 grinding to a halt on XP desktops, and any security patches pushed out by Oracle will be pushed out to Windows XP desktops - and you can still download and install JDK 7 on the retro system from java.oracle.com or java.com.
The fact remains though that, without Window’s updates, there are no more guarantees for Java on the OS - so bad luck if you’re stuck using it for going forward. As we’ve seen over the past year with the leap in exploitation of Java 6 vulnerabilities, Java without full support is more porous than your average swiss cheese. Whilst it’s great that, dependant on user demand, enterprise users will be able to depend on the XP OS for a while longer, the safest option remains to update.
Java 8 users are still out of luck when it comes to Windows XP - but then, if you were committed to XP, it’s relatively unlikely you’re looking to use the cutting edge of Java. Oracle is looking for fixes for the known issues with the installer on XP that force manual intervention, but, as the nineties legends write, “if you are on Windows XP it’s not clear that it’s worth updating to Java 8 without also updating the OS.”