We have just received the news that the Java browser plugin is finally killed by Oracle. The main reason behind this measure seems to be the fact that the feature was often used by attackers as it required many updates.
The announcement was made in a blog post by Oracle, together with several details about further plans. The whole process is expected to take one year, but we can be sure there will be remnants lingering some time after that. Apparently, this type of technology will disappear from both Oracle JRE and JDK in the next release of Java SE. However, by March 2017 all Internet browsers will refuse the Java plugin anyway. The corporation bought Sun Microsystems back in 2010, and along with it the Java feature. The plugin has been a security issue for Internet browsers since 1995 and thus sparked many controversies.
Oracle is not the first company to remove the ill-fated plugin. Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have already gotten rid of it or are in the process of removing it. However, the problems that came with the Java plugin also included the annoying Ask Toolbar. This download came automatically with the Java package and users had the possibility of choosing between the Ask Shopping Toolbar or the Ask Search Toolbar.
Unfortunately, the process of replacing the feature is not as easy as it might seem. The founder of Coverity, Andy Chou, stated that he does not know if it is possible for Oracle to transport Java into a more secure path. He added that in order to make such big changes, new processes must be laid down and this affects the entire process of software development. Such a big step will surely take much of the time and effort of numerous employees.
Developers are also taking into consideration another option: moving from the Java Applets to Java Web Start technology. This type of technology does not require any plugins whatsoever. Oracle also announced that users can now access the early release of JDK 9, as well as additional details and background information for migration options.
The Java browser plugin is finally killed by Oracle, but it seems many computers will continue to use either Java 6 or Java 7, especially the ones used in business environments. These two versions do not receive any more public security updates. The Java plugin will prove quite difficult to be replaced or rewritten.
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