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Is Java Needed? #1 null__. Just what the title says, is Java needed on most machines? Every computer I setup for customers I install Java on. Is this a thing of the past or is it still needed? Edited by hamluis, 22 April 2018 - 02:07 PM. Moved from All Other Apps to General Security - Hamluis. BC AdBot (Login to Remove) BleepingComputer.com Register to remove ads. #2 Chris Cosgrove. In general it is not needed on private computers. There are still some applications that need it, and if you are programming in Java then you need the JRE but in general, no. Having said that, my favourite small game requires the JRE to operate ! If you need it it is easy enough to install, I would not install it as a matter of routine. #3 Struppigel. Malware Response Team 281 posts OFFLINE Gender: Male Local time: 11:23 PM. I agree with Chris here. Some programmes will need the Java runtime, but these will usually install or ship the runtime with them, if it is not there. There is no need to install Java preemptively. It just opens up some more infection vectors. #4 Havachat. As stated its not required for normal use , i havent used for years on my daily used laptop , but sometimes i will install on desktop for when its needed. Any PCs i repair i never install Java as this may compromise those PCs in the future or the possibility. If for any reason they think they need them its there choice to install. #5 cafejose. There were a couple of sites which usage required Java. One of them was some language exchange site (its name I no longer remember) and another was the screencast-o-matic page for making screen recordings. Now about screencast-o-matic, one can download a program for making screen recordings from them and then no longer need to have Java installed on the machine. One or two of the alternative Office type programs requires the use of Java for certain features to work. Again, I do not any longer remember which of those Office programs these were/or are. I have NO Java installed on my (those which are really mine) computers, and I miss nothing about Java. #6 win10user. you didnt say where you're setting it up for and for what. no for me never need it. #7 STS-1. As stated its not required for normal use , i havent used for years on my daily used laptop , but sometimes i will install on desktop for when its needed. Any PCs i repair i never install Java as this may compromise those PCs in the future or the possibility. If for any reason they think they need them its there choice to install. this is a two part question. #1 In a business environment, not developer though,(and no gaming) is there any need for Java? I get a lot of people that have it and I never want to uninstall it in case it breaks stuff, but I know that Java is bad for opening vulnerabilities. Almost wondering now if I should uninstall and see what happens, I can always reinstall if I need to. #2- The statement about "Adobe Flash" would that include Acrobat DC Reader? I know Adobe is bad for security bugs, but I like my free PDF reader. Any suggestion on which one is good besides Foxit (which I do not like)? Or is that a totally different scenario from Flash? (my understanding is that flash is for playing videos, and chrome already has that covered)? #8 opera. A popular free pdf reader is Sumatra. I use this on all my machines without any problems. I'm sure other poster will have other suggestions too. #9 midimusicman79. Personally, I used Java in the past for filing my taxes, but eventually, the IRS in my country, Norway, stopped requiring the population to have it installed and after some persuasion on the Bleeping Computer Forum, I decided to uninstall it, and to be honest I do not miss it at all! Good riddance! And, given Java's long track record of vulnerabilities, I would never, ever , recommend installing it unless you are absolutely certain that you still need it for one or more Java-based program(s) (of course, I do not). Edited by midimusicman79, 06 May 2018 - 11:04 AM. A guide to Java versions and features. Last updated on November 14, 2019 - You can use this guide to get practical information on how to find and install the latest Java, understand the differences between Java distributions (AdoptOpenJdk, OpenJDK, OracleJDK etc.), as well as get an overview of Java language features, including version Java versions 8-13. Practical Information. First, let’s have a look at some common, practical questions that people have when trying to choose the right Java version for their project. TL;DR I only want a download link and know about everything else. Where should I go? Go to the AdoptOpenJDK site, chose the latest Java version, download and install it. Then come back to this guide to maybe still learn a thing or two about Java versions. What Java version should I use? As of September 2019, Java 13 is the latest released Java version, with newer versions following every 6 months. Hence Java 14 is scheduled for March 2020, Java 15 for September 2020 and so on. In the past, Java release cycles were much longer , up to 3-5 years!. With that many new versions coming out, there’s basically these real-world(в„ў) usage scenarios: Legacy projects in companies are often stuck with using Java 8 (see Why are companies still stuck with Java 8?) . Hence you will be forced to use Java 8 as well. Some legacy projects are even stuck on Java 1.5 (released 2004) or 1.6 (released 2006) - sorry, pals! If you are making sure to use the very latest IDEs, frameworks and build tools and starting a greenfield project, you can, without hesitation, use Java 11 (LTS) or even the latest Java 13. There’s the special field of Android development, where the Java version is basically stuck at Java 7, with a specific set of Java 8 features available. Or you switch to using the Kotlin programming language. Why are companies still stuck with Java 8? There’s a mix of different reasons companies are still stuck with Java 8. To name a few: Build tools (Maven, Gradle etc.) and some libraries initially had bugs with versions Java versions > 8 and needed updates. Even today, with e.g. Java >=9, certain build tools print out "reflective access"-warnings when building Java projects, which simply "feels not ready", even though the builds are fine. Up until Java 8 you were pretty much using Oracle’s JDK builds and you did not have to care about licensing. Oracle changed the licensing scheme In 2019, though, which led the internet go crazy with a ton of articles saying "Java is not free anymore" - and a fair amount of confusion followed. This is however not really an issue, which you’ll learn about in the Java Distributions section of this guide. Some companies have policies to only use LTS versions and rely on their OS vendors to provide them these builds, which takes time. To sum up: you have a mix of practical issues (upgrading your tools, libraries, frameworks) and political issues. Why are some Java versions, like 8 also called 1.8? Java versions before 9 simply had a different naming scheme. So, Java 8 can also be called 1.8 , Java 5 can be called 1.5 etc. When you issued the 'java -version' command, with these versions you got output like this: Which simply means Java 8. With the switch to time-based releases with Java 9 the naming scheme also changed, and Java versions aren’t prefixed with 1.x anymore. Now the version number looks like this: What is the difference between the Java versions? Should I learn a specific one? Coming from other programming languages with major breakages between releases, like say Python 2 to 3, you might be wondering if the same applies to Java. Java is special in this regard, as it is extremely backwards compatible. This means that your Java 5 or 8 program is guaranteed to run with a Java 8-13 virtual machine - with a few exceptions you don’t need to worry about for now. It obviously does not work the other way around, say your program relies on Java 13 features, that are simply not available under a Java 8 JVM. This means a couple of things: You do not just "learn" a specific Java version, like 12. Rather, you’ll get a good foundation in all language features up until Java 8. This serves as a good base. And then learn, from a guide like this, what additional features came in Java 9-13 and use them whenever you can. What are examples of these new features between Java versions? Have a look at the Java Features 8-13 section. But as a rule of thumb: The older, longer release-cycles (3-5 years, up until Java 8) meant a lot of new features per release. The 6-month release cycle means a lot less features, per release, so you can catch up quickly on Java 9-13 language features. What is the difference between a JRE and a JDK? Up until now, we have only been talking about "Java". But what is Java exactly? First, you need to differentiate between a JRE (Java Runtime Environment) and a JDK (Java Development Kit). Historically, you downloaded just a JRE if you were only interested in running Java programs. A JRE includes, among other things, the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and the "java" command line tool. To develop new Java programs, you needed to download a JDK . A JDK includes everything the JRE has, as well as the compiler javac and a couple of other tools like javadoc (Java documentation generator) and jdb (Java Debugger). Now why am I talking in past tense? Up until Java 8, the Oracle website offered JREs and JDKs as separate downloads - even though the JDK also always included a JRE in a separate folder. With Java 9 that distinction was basically gone, and you are always downloading a JDK. The directory structure of JDKs also changed, with not having an explicit JRE folder anymore. So, even though some distributions (see Java Distributions section) still offer a separate JRE download, there seems to be the trend of offering just a JDK. Hence, we are going to use Java and JDK interchangeably from now on. How do I install Java or a JDK then? Ignore the Java-Docker images, .msi wrappers or platform-specific packages for the moment. In the end, Java is just a .zip file, nothing more, nothing less. Therefore, all you need to do to install Java onto your machine, is to unzip your jdk- .zip file. You don’t even need administrator rights for that. Your unzipped Java file will look like this: The magic happens in the /bin directory, which under Windows looks like this: So all you need to do is unzip that file and put the /bin directory in your PATH variable, so you can call the 'java' command from anywhere. (In case you are wondering, GUI installers like the one from Oracle or AdoptOpenJDK will do the unzipping and modifying the PATH variable for you, that’s about it.) To verify you installed Java correctly, you can then simply run 'java -version'. If the output looks like the one below, you are good to go. Now there’s one question left: Where do you get that Java .zip file from? Which brings us to the topic of distributions. Java Distributions. There’s a variety of sites offering Java (read: JDK) downloads and it is unclear "who offers what and with which licensing". This section will shed some light on this. The OpenJDK project. In terms of Java source code (read: the source code for your JRE/JDK), there is only one , living at the OpenJDK project site. This is just source code however, not a distributable build (think: your .zip file with the compiled java command for your specific operating system). In theory, you and I could produce a build from that source code, call it, say, MarcoJDK and start distributing it. But our distribution would lack certification, to be able to legally call ourselves Java SE compatible . That’s why in practice, there’s a handful of vendors that actually create these builds, get them certified (see TCK) and then distribute them. And while vendors cannot, say, remove a method from the String class before producing a new Java build, they can add branding (yay!) or add some other (e.g. CLI) utilities they deem useful. But other than that, the original source code is the same for all Java distributions. OpenJDK builds (by Oracle) and OracleJDK builds. One of the vendors who builds Java from source is Oracle. This leads to two different Java distributions , which can be very confusing at first. OpenJDK builds by Oracle(!). These builds are free and unbranded, but Oracle won’t release updates for older versions, say Java 13, as soon as Java 14 comes out. OracleJDK, which is a branded, commercial build starting with the license change in 2019. Which means it can be used for free during development, but you need to pay Oracle if using it in production. For this, you get longer support, i.e. updates to versions and a telephone number you can call if your JVM goes crazy. Now, historically (pre-Java 8) there were actual source differences between OpenJDK builds and OracleJDK builds, where you could say that OracleJDK was 'better'. But as of today, both versions are essentially the same, with minor differences. It then boils down to you wanting paid, commercial support (a telephone number) for your installed Java version. AdoptOpenJDK. In 2017, a group of Java User Group members, developers and vendors (Amazon, Microsoft, Pivotal, Redhat and others) started a community, called AdoptOpenJDK. They provide free, rock-solid OpenJDK builds with longer availibility/updates and even offer you the choice of two different Java virtual machines: HotSpot and OpenJ9. Highly recommended if you are looking to install Java. Azul Zulu, Amazon Corretto, SAPMachine. You will find a complete list of OpenJDK builds at the OpenJDK Wikipedia site. Among them are Azul Zulu, Amazon Corretto as well as SapMachine, to name a few. To oversimplify it boils down to you having different support options/maintenance guarantees. But make sure to check out the individual websites to learn about the advantages of each single distribution. Recommendation. To re-iterate from the beginning, in 2019, unless you have very specific requirements, go get your jdk.zip (.tar.gz/.msi/.pkg) file from https://adoptopenjdk.net or choose a package provided by your OS-vendor. Java Features 8-13. As mentioned at the very beginning of this guide: Essentially all (don’t be picky now) Java 8 language features also work in Java 13. The same goes for all other Java versions in between. Which in turns means that all language features from Java 8 serve as very good Java base knowledge and everything else (Java 9-13) is pretty much additional features on top of that baseline. Here’s a quick overview of what the specific versions have to offer: - Java 8 - Java 8 was a massive release and you can find a list of all features at the Oracle website.

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There’s two main feature sets I’d like to mention here, though: Language Features: Lambdas etc. Before Java 8, whenever you wanted to instantiate, for example, a new Runnable, you had to write an anonymous inner class like so: With lambdas, the same code looks like this: You also got method references, repeating annotations, default methods for interfaces and a few other language features. Collections & Streams. In Java 8 you also got functional-style operations for collections, also known as the Stream API. A quick example: Now pre-Java 8 you basically had to write for-loops to do something with that list. With the Streams API, you can do the following: If you want more Java 8 practice. Obviously, I can only give a quick overview of each newly added Stream, Lambda or Optional method in Java 8 in the scope of this guide. If you want a more detailed, thorough overview - including exercises - you can have a look at my Java 8 core features course. - Java 9 - Java 9 also was a fairly big release, with a couple of additions: Collections. Collections got a couple of new helper methods, to easily construct Lists, Sets and Maps. Streams. Streams got a couple of additions, in the form of takeWhile,dropWhile,iterate methods. Optionals. Optionals got the sorely missed ifPresentOrElse method. Interfaces. Interfaces got private methods: Other Language Features. And a couple of other improvements, like an improved try-with-resources statement or diamond operator extensions. JShell. Finally, Java got a shell where you can try out simple commands and get immediate results. HTTPClient. Java 9 brought the initial preview version of a new HttpClient. Up until then, Java’s built-in Http support was rather low-level, and you had to fall back on using third-party libraries like Apache HttpClient or OkHttp (which are great libraries, btw!). With Java 9, Java got its own, modern client - although in preview mode, which means subject to change in later Java versions. Project Jigsaw: Java Modules and Multi-Release Jar Files. Java 9 got the Jigsaw Module System, which somewhat resembles the good old OSGI specification. It is not in the scope of this guide to go into full detail on Jigsaw, but have a look at the previous links to learn more. Multi-Release .jar files made it possible to have one .jar file which contains different classes for different JVM versions. So your program can behave differently/have different classes used when run on Java 8 vs. Java 10, for example. If you want more Java 9 practice. Again, this is just a quick overview of Java 9 features and if you want more thorough explanations and exercises, have a look at the Java 9 core features course. - Java 10 - There have been a few changes to Java 10, like Garbage Collection etc. But the only real change you as a developer will likely see is the introduction of the "var"-keyword, also called local-variable type inference. Local-Variable Type Inference: var-keyword. Feels Javascript-y, doesn’t it? It is still strongly typed, though, and only applies to variables inside methods (thanks, dpash, for pointing that out again). - Java 11 - Java 11 was also a somewhat smaller release, from a developer perspective. Strings & Files. Strings and Files got a couple new methods (not all listed here): Run Source Files. Starting with Java 10, you can run Java source files without having to compile them first. A step towards scripting. Local-Variable Type Inference (var) for lambda parameters. The header says it all: HttpClient. The HttpClient from Java 9 in its final, non-preview version. Other stuff. Flight Recorder, No-Op Garbage Collector, Nashorn-Javascript-Engine deprecated etc. - Java 12 - Java 12 got a couple new features and clean-ups, but the only ones worth mentioning here are Unicode 11 support and a preview of the new switch expression, which you will see covered in the next section. - Java 13 - You can find a complete feature list here, but essentially you are getting Unicode 12.1 support, as well as two new or improved preview features (subject to change in the future): Switch Expression (Preview) Switch expressions can now return a value. And you can use a lambda-style syntax for your expressions, without the fall-through/break issues: Old switch statements looked like this: Whereas with Java 13, switch statements can look like this: Should You Disable Java on Your Computer? Java may be among the most insecure pieces of software on any computer, and most of us have little reason to run it. Computers come equipped with many pieces of software and programming platforms that most of us don't know we have and don't know what they're for. One of those programming platforms, Java, has been in the news lately because of its security problems involving the Apple Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X. It's caused many headaches for Windows users as well.\ Java was first introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1995 as a self-contained platform to create and run thousands of computer applications. "Java creates an environment for code to run regardless of the operating system, so software developers that write code in the Java programming language can run their programs on pretty much any operating system, including Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, Linux and UNIX variants," explained Marcus Carey, security researcher at Boston's

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Rapid7. "Normally you'd have to write an application per operating system." Litany of woe. Java has a long history of security vulnerabilities, which are now coming to the public's attention because of the widespread infection of Macs in late March by the Flashback, also called Flashfake, malware family. Java was bundled into Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard by default, and kept on if a Mac user upgraded his machine from Snow Leopard to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. (Java is not bundled into "clean" installations of Lion, but can be added later.) "Later on in the distributions [of Flashfake variants], the Flashfake operators abused the vulnerabilities in those Java installs and new installs by delivering Java exploits from malicious websites," said Kurt Baumgartner, senior security researcher with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab. "In many cases, [the malware operators] simply tricked the users into believing that their Java web applets were actually Java software updates from Apple, Inc." Java is a favorite target of cybercriminals because it is so easy to exploit, and also because users are frequently using outdated versions of it. "Java vulnerabilities are addressed in every single major exploit pack available through underground markets, such as the Blackhole exploit pack, Eleonore pack and Crimepack, among others," Catalin Cosoi of Bucharest, Romania's Bitdefender said. "This makes Java exploitation as simple as it gets, even if the attacker has no technical skills at all." Patch or disable? The big problem is that Java installations aren't being patched, Carey said, which is a problem that can be traced back to three main issues. First of all, organizations are often unaware of the security implications of not patching their software. Second, if software that an organization depends on was written using older versions of Java, upgrading Java may cripple or altogether disable that software. Third, many users aren't aware that Web browsers are configured with Java plug-ins enabled, which makes them susceptible to drive-by malware attacks targeting older versions of Java. This happens with Flashback. (Java shouldn't be confused with JavaScript, an unrelated language used for enabling features on web pages.) At one time, Java was absolutely necessary if you wanted to be able to use your computer for, well, just about everything. Today there is less need for it. A growing number of security experts recommend not installing Java if you don't already have it, and perhaps even getting rid of it if you do. You can see whether your browser is running Java at http://www.java.com/en/download/testjava.jsp. This will allow you to check if your browser has Java enabled, and if so, which plug-in version is it running. If your plug-in is out of date, updates are free to download and install. Knowing if your computer actively uses Java for other applications, however, is a little tougher. "It's like asking 'What open-source libraries or code are you using on your system?'" Baumgartner said. In Mac OS X, you can check by going into Applications → Utilities and looking for an application called "Java Preferences." If it's not there, you don't have Java installed; if is, you can open the application and uncheck all options to disable Java entirely. In Windows, go to Start → Settings → Control Panel → Java Control Panel and go to the Advanced tab to disable Java. Perhaps the easiest way to tell whether or not you need Java is to first disable it entirely. If you regularly use an application or visit a Web site that requires Java, your system or the site will prompt you that you need to install or re-enable Java. You may find that you don't need it and don't miss it. On the other hand, if you do use applications that require Java — such as programs in the Adobe Creative Suite like Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign — "responsible" use of Java will let you use them without putting your computer at risk. How to live with Java. According to Cosoi, there are two important rules every Java user should obey. First, always keep Java up to date. Whenever you're prompted to update it, install the patch as soon as possible. The smallest delay can expose you to malware. Second, set aside one browser for websites that absolutely require Java, and disable the Java plug-in on all other browsers. Use the other browsers for everything else, for example checking your email or reading the news. This way, if you land on a compromised website that's trying to exploit a Java flaw, odds are you'll be protected. If you're still concerned about security and Java, the easiest way to see if you are susceptible to Java drive-by attacks is to visit Rapid7's www.IsJavaExploitable.com. It'll tell you right away if your Java's up to date. "There have been some pretty interesting applications developed in Java," Baumgartner said. He doesn't think that it's necessary to uninstall Java to keep your computer secure. Instead, Baumgartner said, we're best off remembering to keep on top of those Java alerts to upgrade. "Upgrading the software on our systems is an important habit to learn," he