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Java Update Frustrations

October 12, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Come on Sun, this is appalling! I can’t imagine what your everyday user thinks of the Java ‘automatic’ update process. In fact, I can: nag screen. (see below for how to disable the Java automatic updater.)

I run Java 6 on my Windows XP machine at work. This morning I was forced to grumble and sigh my way through the following:-

  1. Bubble messages pops up from my system tray. Asks whether I want to install a Java 6 update and, quite randomly, install OpenOffice ‘for free’. Hmm, I always thought OpenOffice was free anyway 😐
  2. I don’t click anything just yet…
  3. A proxy login box pops up. Somehow Java found an update without needing proxy authentication (I access the internet at work via an authenticated proxy), but now it has to ask for auth. WTF?
  4. *sigh* I give my proxy credentials, and click the popup to start the update.
  5. Another dialog appears, asking if I want to install Java, or click ‘More Information’ to install OpenOffice ‘for free’, again.
  6. I click ‘More Information’ which directs me to http://java.com/en/download/javacom_update.jsp, not a bad page actually I concede.
  7. No need to install OOo though, I hit ‘Install’ on the Java updater.
  8. *sigh* proxy credentials required, again. I supply.
  9. All dialogs disappear. Nothing visible in my systray. Curious…
  10. I forget about it and go back to my work (or rather ‘work’).
  11. 10 minutes later out of the blue a Java installation dialog appears. By this time I’d forgotten about the Java install but this dialog wants to stop me doing what I’m doing.
  12. I hit install. ‘Copying files…’
  13. *sigh*, another proxy auth… Bleeding Proxy
  14. You’re Welcome

NO, thank YOU Sun, that was a horribly frustrating update process. If the update process was smooth maybe you’d get a few more installs of OpenOffice, too.

My advice: 1) do a silent install, 2) ask for the proxy password once, 3) finish with:

Java has been updated. Click here to see more products from the Sun family including the free OpenOffice productivity suite.

Oh and guess what? The ‘update’ kept the previous version of Java installed of course. I’ve now got 8 JVMs in C:\Program Files\Java alone (probably more elsewhere on my disk). Some of these I need for various apps & testing on different JVMs, some are just courtesy of Java point releases, wasting 70MB of disk and needing 14 bullet points to describe their installation process.

No wonder regular folk shy away from web sites that ‘require Java’. If it wasn’t my day job, I probably would too.

Disabling Automatic Updates

To disable the automatic Java updates, run javacpl from your Java installation directory (mine is C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_03\bin\) and untick ‘check for updates automatically’, i.e.:
disablejavaupdate.png
I wouldn’t recommend this for the long term however since Java updates include important security updates and bug fixes.

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