Monday, February 16, 2009

Java Update

Sun has released an update to its Java Runtime Environment, which is what runs Java applications in your browser. The latest version is JRE 6 update 12.

[Update: actually, the latest version is now Version 6 Update 13. Sorry I have not put up a post about that yet. RSN, promise.]

To see which version you currently have installed, visit Sun's Verify Java Version page.

If you do have an out-of-date version, that same page will offer the installer for the new version for download. The installer itself downloads almost instantly. To complete the installation, close your browser and double-click the file that just downloaded. The installation process then downloads the update and installs it, and the whole thing takes several minutes.

NB: The installer offers to install the Yahoo toolbar, and this box is checked by default. Uncheck this box to avoid installing this shovelware. I think it's on the second screen shown during installation. It's fairly obvious as long as you don't just keep clicking "Next."

One hiccup: When I visited the Verify page with one of my machines, the report came back that the current version (JRE 6 update 11) was up to date, which is obviously wrong. I clicked the back button on my browser, reran the verification process, and on the second time, it correctly reported that my version was out of date. Apart from that, things went smoothly.

If you use Firefox, you'll probably see a message the next time you start Firefox, telling you that a new version of an add-on has been installed. This is the Java Quick Launch add-on, which is supposed to make Java itself launch faster when you visit a page that requires Java.

In the release notes for this update, Sun does say:

This feature release does not contain any new fixes for security vulnerabilities to its previous release, Java SE 6 Update 11. Users who have Java SE 6 Update 11 have the latest security fixes and do not need to upgrade to this release to be current on security fixes.

That is, this update fixes other bugs only. So, up to you.

(h/t: Ryan Naraine)


Anonymous said...

Surely a better option would be to just dispense with Java altogether?

Java - what is it good for?

(Absolutely nothin'! Say it again!)

bjkeefe said...

Hard to disagree with. In fact, I quoted Krebs saying much the same thing at the end of my previous Java update post.