General Question

flutherother's avatar

Why would I need Java on my PC?

Asked by flutherother (26904points) January 12th, 2013

Java can make your PC vulnerable to cyberattack according to this article and there is no quick fix for the problem. Should I just uninstall? What would I lose if I do?

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10 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Some websites and programs use it to run so if you get rid if it you may find somethings don’t work however I haven’t had java on my PC for years and never have any problems.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Having read that article this is old news to me. I was aware of the implications and potential calamity that Java can cause with a system – at one point I distinctly recall being unable to effectively run a third party firewall program (I think it was Zonealarm actually), and it REALLY didn’t like Java. Or the other way round.
There is a comment that says that Flash is a resource hogging piece of bloatware, and that it won’t last much longer. This is a rubbish statement clearly made by someone who really doesn’t know what they’re using when they go to websites like Youtube or watches streamed movies or short films. Java on the other hand, is a pain in the ass.
I have to use it simply because I am one of those people that uses Photoshop. Without it, I can’t really do a great deal with a seriously expensive creative program – getting rid of Java in that respect would be like buying an expensive camera, and throwing away the inner workings of it. Completely pointless.
Just uninstalling is an option, but depending on your computer and what programs you use and what websites you visit – disabling Java would probably be the best approach, as the article suggests.
Obviously if you uninstall Java, you would lose Java. Ask silly question, get silly answer (cause I’m silly and I do give out silly answers occasionally), but obviously there’s more to it than that – as the article implies. Disable it, run any programs you would normally run, if they moan about not having Java – then just enable it. Same with any websites you happen to visit that you trust implicitly. Don’t just enable it on a whim because a website asks you to – that’s just asking for hassle to happen. Half the problems – if not more – that occur with people using their computers is down to what websites they’ve been to and maybe also what they’ve downloaded, which is why piracy and obtaining illegal software is a dumb idea, not least because the software can be/is affected (usually with a virus or malware of some kind) but also because of the websites that distribute said software.
Updating Java is no quick fix in itself either – but sadly that’s the only option there is available, and it can mean removing an older version to make way for the newer version, then there’s the different platforms to match up to the right versions – if you have 64 bit Windows you can’t have the 32 bit version vice versa. It is frankly, a horrid pain in the ass. I hate Java but I rely on it, so I can’t remove it, but your options are disable or remove. Disable try stuff and if there’s nothing untoward happening then you can either permanently disable it should something you eventually get hold of require it, or just uninstall it.

glacial's avatar

I was hoping someone would ask this question because of the recent warnings… my first question was also, “This is news?” I’ve been carefully keeping my version of Java up to date for the past year or so for this very reason.

So, further to the OP’s question, what I wonder is – is there something new in this warning that suddenly merits throwing Java out entirely? Why hasn’t that been the prescription until now?

I do know that I have had web browsing interrupted in the past for not having the most current version of Java. This implies that removing it would have an impact on my life, if only to reduce the amount of freedom I have while browsing.

jaytkay's avatar

Uninstall Java.

Then, if you run into an application or site which requires it, you can decide whether you would rather have Java or skip the site.

flutherother's avatar

Thanks for the advice. I’ll have to consider this. The reason I ask is because I received a warning email this morning. US-CERT Alert TA13–010A

Bellatrix's avatar

Even when programmes do need it I find Java painful. I have a couple of programmes I need to use for work that I can’t use on this laptop (or can on this one but not my other) because of Java problems. I have tried loading and unloading and it drives me nuts. So, if you can avoid it – I would.

jerv's avatar

Maybe it’s that I am a tabletop gamer, maybe because I am a poweruser, but I find Java mandatory. As for vulnerability, either you are savvy enough to keep patches current, or Java is the least of your problems.

When I get home, I will drop a link to a patch manager that will keep your system as current as possible.

jerv's avatar

Here it is – Secunia PSI

Also note that us Firefox users already have Java blocked with a combination of black-lists and “click-to-play” so as to prevent drive-by attacks. Mozilla knows what they are doing.

glacial's avatar

Thanks, @jerv – that’s really helpful.

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