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Old 01-11-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
linuxPCplus
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Question Disable Java? REALLY???


Ok, so I have been seeing alot of stories urging pc users to disable Java due to several security threats. I see the sense in doing this, but is it really feasible? I mean what about web-pages or programs that are written in Java? Will they function if Java is disabled or not even installed on your device?

This also leads to another similar issue: for the past couple years I have heard that flash is "outdated" & should not be used. But nearly every site on the web that displays any animation or video uses flash, mine included. Without flash installed, you can't watch youtube videos or see content on millions of flash-enabled websites.

So I guess my question is this: are there alternatives for flash & java thaqt will allow you the same functionality & usability that java & flash provide? How can I watch flash videos without Flash? How can I play java games or run java softwarewithout java?

I am using Ubuntu 12.04.1
 
Old 01-11-2013, 10:25 AM   #2
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HTML5 technologies do most of what you want. For example most YouTube videos will play just fine without Flash in any modern browser.
Join http://www.youtube.com/html5 and try it. Similarly the use cases for web based Java could largely be replaced and done with HTML5 technologies as well and that includes games, e.g. http://operasoftware.github.com/Emberwind/
 
Old 01-11-2013, 10:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxPCplus View Post
So I guess my question is this: are there alternatives for flash & java thaqt will allow you the same functionality & usability that java & flash provide? How can I watch flash videos without Flash? How can I play java games or run java softwarewithout java?

I am using Ubuntu 12.04.1
Others may disagree but I'd say the short answer is "You can't.".
There is a GNUX Java plugin (or two?) that you can use instead which I'm lead to believe can work well on some sites. Then there are things like Gnash for playing Flash. But, when it comes down to it, only Sun Java and Adobe Flash can be relied upon to play back all content.
For YouTube 98and perhaps others) there is the option of HTML5 video also, which does away with the need for Flash. Again though not all videos are available.
 
Old 01-11-2013, 10:51 AM   #4
linuxPCplus
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Originally Posted by 273 View Post
Others may disagree but I'd say the short answer is "You can't.".
There is a GNUX Java plugin (or two?) that you can use instead which I'm lead to believe can work well on some sites. Then there are things like Gnash for playing Flash. But, when it comes down to it, only Sun Java and Adobe Flash can be relied upon to play back all content.
For YouTube 98and perhaps others) there is the option of HTML5 video also, which does away with the need for Flash. Again though not all videos are available.
My point exactly! I use the Open source version of JRE. I have used GNASH.BUT, as you stated 273, NOT ALL FLASH OR JAVA content will run with these opensource alternatives.

I suppose I should confess that as a long time Linux user, I already knew the answer to this question. I simply wanted to open up a very real dialog about this topic.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand:

Ruario, you pointed out that HTML5 is capable of doing most of what both Java & flash do. That is true, but the problem is that the application must be written in or compatible with HTML5. While this is becoming increasingly common, many things simply are not HTML5 compatible. So as a user, you must rely on the developer to make sure the application, object, video, game, etc is HTML5 compatible.Frankly, that is simply not feasible.

The cold hard reality is that at this point in time, it simply is not feasible to abandon Flash or Java. Not until a reliable alternative is found. This is true for Windows/Mac users as well as those of us on Linux. These 2 technologies are the predominant platforms today. Most people simply cannot do without these technologies, at least not without drastically changing their current computing habits. I myself use Flash on my own website because there are no reliable alternatives that will give me the funcionality I require.

So this of cousre brings up further questions:
1. How do we protect ourselves from the security vulnerabilities inherenet in Java without disabling Java itself?
2. How do we maintain our current computing lifestyle without flash or Java?
3. Do you think a viable replacement for these 2 technologies is in the near future?

Last edited by linuxPCplus; 01-11-2013 at 10:57 AM.
 
Old 01-11-2013, 10:58 AM   #5
unSpawn
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Looking at local SW for example OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice suggest Java as dependency but if you look closer it's only needed for specific math stuff. So you wouldn't need Java if you would only use Writer and even then it wouldn't be need to access the network (except at intervals for updates) and it wouldn't need Webstart or supply a Java browser plugin. So IMHO the first question should be what actually requires Java? I guess that 0.001 per cent of the people who have Java installed don't need it and if they do it'll be sporadically.
 
Old 01-11-2013, 11:10 AM   #6
273
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Oddly, despite what I said above, I don't think I have a Java plugin on my PC at home. I never could get the Sun version to work in Firefox on 64 bit Debian Sid (or other 64 bit systems I can recall). I do miss it occasionally such as not being able to use pingtest.net and the odd other similar site. Only having the open source Java plugin on my netbook meant a friend was unable to use their bank's verification applet also, causing problems trying to purchase things.

As for Flash, as I always mention when this comes up, without Flash I'd have to go back to Windows. I simply rely on it for too much video to be able to give it up. As it is not having Silverlight means being locked out of Netflix* and many other things I would otherwise be using. HTML5, by the way, will never replace Flash, Silverlight, or some other plugin for movie streaming to PC as the movie and TV studios (and their MPIAA Ass's) simply will not allow non-DRM content to go to PCs, ever.

*Though there is "light at the end of the tunnel" (sorry) in that people have managed to get Netflix running on Ubuntu. The question to ask myself then is "Do I really want a Microsoft technology in my desktop OS? Is it worth it for access to more video and not begin a "dirty pirate" any more when I want to watch a movie?".

Last edited by 273; 01-11-2013 at 11:13 AM. Reason: clarifying and removing typo's
 
Old 01-11-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
linuxPCplus
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Originally Posted by unSpawn View Post
Looking at local SW for example OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice suggest Java as dependency but if you look closer it's only needed for specific math stuff. So you wouldn't need Java if you would only use Writer and even then it wouldn't be need to access the network (except at intervals for updates) and it wouldn't need Webstart or supply a Java browser plugin. So IMHO the first question should be what actually requires Java? I guess that 0.001 per cent of the people who have Java installed don't need it and if they do it'll be sporadically.
0.001%? That leaves 99.99% who DO need Java regularly. I myself use Calc for accounting, bookeeping, inventory, customer database & other operations that use advanced mathmatical/statistical functions. Some of these simply wont work withou Java. No way around that. Your own number (in understand that is a personal guesstimate rather than a researched stat,so I take it lightly) indicates that there are very few who do not use Java regularly.

True, most people don't know they are using it. In the past month I have had several calls from clients worried about the Java problem & wanting to know if it effects them. After looking at their typical usage, most of these clients simply cannot go without Java. To many of the programs they use require it. There is the OpenJDK for us Linux users, but many of my clients are Windows or Mac users. There is NO alterntaive for them.At least, noit that I am aware of.
 
Old 01-11-2013, 11:29 AM   #8
linuxPCplus
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Originally Posted by 273 View Post
Oddly, despite what I said above, I don't think I have a Java plugin on my PC at home. I never could get the Sun version to work in Firefox on 64 bit Debian Sid (or other 64 bit systems I can recall). I do miss it occasionally such as not being able to use pingtest.net and the odd other similar site. Only having the open source Java plugin on my netbook meant a friend was unable to use their bank's verification applet also, causing problems trying to purchase things.

As for Flash, as I always mention when this comes up, without Flash I'd have to go back to Windows. I simply rely on it for too much video to be able to give it up. As it is not having Silverlight means being locked out of Netflix* and many other things I would otherwise be using. HTML5, by the way, will never replace Flash, Silverlight, or some other plugin for movie streaming to PC as the movie and TV studios (and their MPIAA Ass's) simply will not allow non-DRM content to go to PCs, ever.

*Though there is "light at the end of the tunnel" (sorry) in that people have managed to get Netflix running on Ubuntu. The question to ask myself then is "Do I really want a Microsoft technology in my desktop OS? Is it worth it for access to more video and not begin a "dirty pirate" any more when I want to watch a movie?".
273, what a great response!
First your Java comments: I too am unable to use my mobile banking on my Linux PC with the OpenJDK plugin. It works on my Android devices, but they use the official Java. So on one hand, you can use the opensource version & be more secure, but even it will not work on all Java based applications. On the other hand, you use the official Java plugin & can use ALL Java based content, but you are now vulnerable to this security flaw. Darned if ya do, dange if ya don't.

Flash: You cant really go without flash in Windows either. You still need it for most web videos and animations. I agree, the movie studios will never allow non-drm technology to display their content. So I believe you are correct in that HTML5 will NEVER replace Flash.

Finally, youre Microsoft technology comments.
This is another area of contention for me. I am a netflix user. I also use some Windows software under Wine or Crossover. Not because I want too, I would LOVE to rid myself of ALL traces of Windows & proprietary software! But I have no choice, unless I want to close my business. For example, in my podcasts I use a windows software called Sound Byte to cue & execute sound-effects, music etc in an easy way. Linux has no alternative with the features I need. I do use Mixxx, audacity, & others for most things, but I cant cue effects with assigned hotkeys in these programs.

So for many, Wine & its bretheren is a necessary evil. At least for now. Yes, I use it & all proprietary software as little as possible. I use linux native, open-source software in every task possible. I do believe there will come a time when nobody ever has to use proprietary software because there will be an open source alternative for every existing software. But that time is not now.

Last edited by linuxPCplus; 01-11-2013 at 11:34 AM.
 
Old 01-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #9
dugan
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for the past couple years I have heard that flash is "outdated" & should not be used.
This advice applies to people who produce websites and games. Not to those who consume them.

(And Java applets on web pages aren't exactly common anymore).

Personally, I do use Java, I do use Flash, and I don't worry about it.

Last edited by dugan; 01-11-2013 at 01:15 PM.
 
Old 01-11-2013, 01:04 PM   #10
sundialsvcs
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I believe that what they're talking about is enabling Java support in your browser, not with regard to the operating system as a whole. The site would ask to run a Java-based plugin and your browser would decline.

Nevertheless ... I think that it really should just come down to what works best for you, with regard to the sites and services that you use every day ... LinuxQuestions, fer'instance.

Even though a technology, like Flash, might be considered "long in the tooth" these days, it still works, and what it does is still important to a lot of folks. I had to deal with this sort of thing last year when working on some apps for public schools: some computers were nice HTML5 machines while other computers, sometimes in the same school, were "technology train-wrecks" that couldn't do HTML5 but could do Flash. I wound up using a very neat tool called haXe to generate, from one source-code base(!), an application that could on-the-fly do it both ways (and(!!) mobile). And I fully expect that the system in question will be "doing it both ways" for many years to come.

(Incidentally, if you haven't heard of haXe yet, do make it your business to check it out.)
 
Old 01-11-2013, 01:10 PM   #11
linuxPCplus
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Java applets on web pages aren't exactly common anymore.
LOL Point taken!
 
Old 01-11-2013, 01:15 PM   #12
linuxPCplus
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I believe that what they're talking about is enabling Java support in your browser, not with regard to the operating system as a whole. The site would ask to run a Java-based plugin and your browser would decline.

Nevertheless ... I think that it really should just come down to what works best for you, with regard to the sites and services that you use every day ... LinuxQuestions, fer'instance.

Even though a technology, like Flash, might be considered "long in the tooth" these days, it still works, and what it does is still important to a lot of folks. I had to deal with this sort of thing last year when working on some apps for public schools: some computers were nice HTML5 machines while other computers, sometimes in the same school, were "technology train-wrecks" that couldn't do HTML5 but could do Flash. I wound up using a very neat tool called haXe to generate, from one source-code base(!), an application that could on-the-fly do it both ways (and(!!) mobile). And I fully expect that the system in question will be "doing it both ways" for many years to come.

(Incidentally, if you haven't heard of haXe yet, do make it your business to check it out.)
Thanks Sundial! I will check it out!
I can't say I disagree with your comments. I agree there are always work-arounds for geeks like us & we will always find a way toaccomplish what we need. But in order to promote the adoption & hence development of open source software, we geeks must also consider the needs of the "average" pc user. What do they need? Is it easy for them to setup & use? Does it do what they want it to do. We cannot expect Windows refugees to rush to Linux if they can't do all they did in Windows (and more) just as easily.
 
Old 01-12-2013, 01:01 PM   #13
joseph85750
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Don't see "Java" in plugins.

Hello, lots of articles/posts warning everyone about java, and encouraging people to disable it.

I've tried, and found the Tools/Add-ons/Plugins section. But I don't see "java".
However, if I visit one of those pages to test if Java is working, it returns:

"Java Version 1.6.0_24 from Sun Microsystems Inc."

So, no idea how to disable it.
 
Old 01-12-2013, 02:35 PM   #14
unSpawn
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Originally Posted by linuxPCplus View Post
0.001%? That leaves 99.99% who DO need Java regularly.
No, you misread what I wrote.

While I do understand concerns regarding unavoidable hard requirements (banking and business sure but given its history nobody should consider Java games as "serious"), by design and for compatibility reasons Java is Java, regardless of who the current vendor is. IMHO right now the first effort should be towards avoiding exposure and limiting risks of exposure and after that seeking a JVM that's usable and secure.
 
Old 01-13-2013, 07:52 AM   #15
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Disabling Iced Tea = Disabling Java

I found my answer on another forum. In Linux Mint, the plugin is Ice Tea. Disabling that will disable Java.
 
  


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