I learned something new today … it has taken the “analog-old-world-me” too long to check on this, but better late than never!
The java popup has always bugged and nagged me … sometimes I updated it and sometimes I didn’t. I know, I know, I play Russian Roulette with my PC and treat PC stuff like my cooking .. going with my mood and hunches, only hunches of course, don’t always play out well in the PC world. Only now did I decide to settle the question once and for all and checked up on this issue. This is what I found out:
Either update Java, or remove it. Do not refuse the updates. That gives you the worst of all possible worlds: a buggy old version of Java that might be exploited by maliciously coded web pages.
What Java Is
Some computer programs are written in a language called Java. The advantage of Java is that a program written in Java will work on many different kinds of computers, such as PCs and Macs. Java programs can appear both as standalone “applications,” like the Azureus file sharing program, and as in-the-web-page “applets.” The latter is increasingly rare, because Flash is much more popular for this job.
What Java Isn’t
Why Java Needs Updating
Java sounds pretty useful. So what’s the catch? Well, to run programs written in Java, you need a Java “runtime environment.” So if your computer is nagging you to “update Java,” then your computer has a Java runtime environment already— and it is out of date.
What You Should Do
You have two reasonable choices:
1. Update Java whenver you are asked to. This is safe— the Java runtime environment is a product of Sun Microsystems, a very respectable company. And it is already on your computer. Updates are usually intended to fix security problems, which makes your computer safer. When you refuse to update Java (or Windows, or MacOS…) you are often taking a very big risk by refusing to fix security problems.
2. Uninstall Java completely. Yes, you can do this and it is safe. The negative consequence is that if you are using any programs or websites that rely on Java, you will not be able to use those programs or websites correctly any more unless you install Java again. However, most people do not have Java applications on their computers these days, and most websites use Flash instead of Java for the interactive features that used to be commonly written in Java. And if you do turn out to have Java programs or applets that you depend on, you can always reinstall Java later by visiting java.sun.com.
How To Uninstall Java
Windows users can follow these steps:
1. Click on the “Start” menu
2. Click on “Control Panel”
3. Double-click “Add or Remove Programs”
4. Look for entries beginning with “Java(TM)” or “J2SE”
5. One at a time, select them, click “Remove,” and follow the prompts to remove them.
Removing Java on MacOS X
Removing Java on MacOS X is not recommended as Apple has made Java a standard part of the operating system and may rely on it to a greater degree than a typical Windows system.
And from the bob rankin website:
Should You Allow Java on Your Computer?
If you encounter a website with an embedded Java app, and you don’t have Java installed (or enabled), you’ll just see an empty space where the program should be displaying. Many sites will provide a helpful link to where you can download the Java runtime environment from Sun Microsystems, the developer of Java. Even cell phones commonly push Java at users. But what is Java, and why should you install or enable it?
Java is a both a programming language and a platform for development of applications that work on multiple operating systems, such as Windows or Mac OS or Linux. Java consists of many software components that work together to provide a “cross-platform environment”. Essentially, that means a program written in the Java programming language will run on any type of computing platform, not just on an Intel or Apple or Nokia piece of hardware; provided, of course, that the essential Java operating components are present. That’s where the Java runtime environment becomes necessary.
Java is handy for programmers; they need only write a program once and not worry about whether the user has a PC or a Mac computer, or be concerned with which browser is being used. Java applications can be embedded in web pages, cell phones, industrial controls, household thermostats, even coffee makers. So you will run into Java often.
Yes, you do need the Java runtime environment, or you will be frustrated quite often. That online game or mortgage calculator you’ve been looking for all day won’t run without Java. So go ahead and install the Java runtime. It won’t hurt, if you have sufficient computing resources.
Is Java Safe?
Java is touted as a secure computing environment, one that makes it difficult for bad guys to snoop, cripple, or take over your computer. The Java runtime forces all Java programs to run in what’s called a “sandbox”, a portion of computer memory to which they are strictly confined. In the sandbox, a program cannot do certain things without the user’s explicit permission – like read your email or format your hard drive. But a sandbox takes up space.
Java sets up this sandbox in a “virtual machine” which consumes considerable computing resources. The amount of resources required varies according to the needs of a given Java application. A mortgage calculator won’t slow your overall computing down noticeably. A 3D animated game might, if your computer is short on memory and/or processor power.
Java applications are often encountered on Web sites, and you may want to disable them sometimes. Firefox, Internet Explorer, and most other Web browsers let you enable and disable Java at will in their “Options” settings.
In Firefox, click on the Tools button on the main toolbar. Then select Options. Click on the “Content” tab and check or uncheck the “Enable Java” checkbox.
In Internet Explorer, click on Tools, then Internet Options. Select the Programs tab and click the Manage Add-ons button. Find “Sun Microsystems – Java plug-in” and enable or disable it.
When the Java runtime is running in memory, you may see a “steaming coffee cup” icon in the system tray. It may persist after you close your browser or otherwise stop using a Java application. Don’t worry, the Java runtime will end itself and the icon will go away after a short while…