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Petition: Stop bundling crapware with Java (change.org)
317 points by lagerstedt on Feb 5, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 153 comments

"As you know people, as you learn about things, you realize that these generalizations we have are, virtually to a generalization, false. Well, except for this one, as it turns out. What you think of Oracle, is even truer than you think it is. There has been no entity in human history with less complexity or nuance to it than Oracle. And I gotta say, as someone who has seen that complexity for my entire life, it's very hard to get used to that idea. It's like, 'surely this is more complicated!' but it's like: Wow, this is really simple! This company is very straightforward, in its defense. This company is about one man, his alter-ego, and what he wants to inflict upon humanity -- that's it! ...Ship mediocrity, inflict misery, lie our asses off, screw our customers, and make a whole shitload of money. Yeah... you talk to Oracle, it's like, 'no, we don't fucking make dreams happen -- we make money!' ...You need to think of Larry Ellison the way you think of a lawnmower. You don't anthropomorphize your lawnmower, the lawnmower just mows the lawn, you stick your hand in there and it'll chop it off, the end. You don't think 'oh, the lawnmower hates me' -- lawnmower doesn't give a shit about you, lawnmower can't hate you. Don't anthropomorphize the lawnmower. Don't fall into that trap about Oracle." -- Bryan Cantrill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zRN7XLCRhc

His rant is entertaining.

This rant isn't even relevant to the complaint at hand...unless the point we are supposed to take away is that Oracle's attempt to collect data about its consumer market segment is mediocre. That is a legitimate critique.

Oracle's attempt is pretty lame in comparison to the methods of their tech peers. Apple, Microsoft and Google ship entire mobile operating systems filled with software to collect data and have built vast app stores filled with spyware that does not offer the user a chance to opt out.

But what makes Oracle's acts so lame is that the actually respect enterprise and don't bake the spyware in. Their peers, on the other hand, push BYOD.

I found it relevant because the link in question is a petition addressed to Larry Ellison about an Oracle business practice which was directed towards making money, at the expense of serving the userbase. I put it here precisely because it articulates why this petition might be, even moreso than other petitions, a futile exercise. The success of a petition fundamentally depends on two things: a receptive audience, and a bunch of people willing to make a little effort to say "me, too."

Relevant and hilarious. Good find!

I'm reminded of the book title "The difference between God and Larry Ellison". (God doesn't think he is Larry Ellison.)

On the contrary, please continue. Improve it by adding BonziBuddy and friends. Please please please ruin your already non-existent reputation, Oracle. Help ordinary people who have no idea what Oracle is, connect your name with spam and spyware (and security problems, ofc).

Hear, hear.

Oracle has the right to bundle whatever crap-ware they want. If that sullies their reputation or draws out alternatives, that's a good thing.

Can we just wait until real alternatives exist before letting client-side Java completely self-destruct?

My problem is that as of now, they don't.

You mean besides Python, .Net and a host of other runtime environments that are cross platform and run with minimal effort without being distributed with shovel-ware? As for .Net, I've found Mono to be pretty easy to target for as a cross-platform runtime. The browser plugin has itself now surpassed Flash and Acrobat as a consistent exploit point and security weakness... On that front, quite a number of browsers can accomplish most of what Java is and has been used for in the browser with JS.

Cross-platform development is in a better place now than it was when Java first tried to tackle that challenge.

I'm not a huge fan of maintaining installed software, though -- if you have a silent auto-updater, that's not bad, but otherwise you're going to be either annoying people with frequent updates, or supporting (often accidentally) scores of old versions all the time.

What else is there besides Java that can run in the browser and do audio recording, MIDI input, realtime audio DSP, etc.? Obviously not everyone wants fancy audio capabilities in the browser, but I imagine there are plenty of other "niche" capabilities that other people need that are impossible in the browser w/o Java.

I do get a sense now that we're going to see the Java security hole largely closed (thanks to browser limitations and Oracle fixes), but the damage has certainly been done.

Ordinary people won't notice.

That's fine. Ordinary people never really realized how irritating Adobe was being about Flash, either, but that wasn't really a big deal because it was ultimately Flash's poor reputation among techies that brought it down.

Similarly, I think Java's worst nightmare scenario wouldn't be end users deciding they don't like it. (Heck, like with Flash most of them don't even know when they're using it.) It would be some massive headline-making Java-related security breach at a Fortune 500 company convincing IT departments around the world to start thinking that it's time to migrate to a less risky platform.

I'm not sure it was a general view amongst techies that did for Flash I think it was those in Apple (not necessarily techies) who made or influenced the decision not to support it in iOS that brought it down.

At the time that looked like a big gamble but with hindsight the gamble has paid off for everybody but Adobe and Flash developers.

>it was ultimately Flash's poor reputation among techies that brought it down.

Sorry, but techie's opinions are overrated. iOS and mobile video brought Flash down a few notches, not us.

I've heard that Steve Jobs hated Flash (or Adobe). Whatever his reasons were, a techie's opinion maybe did help bring Flash down a few notches.

I think Gator might be a good choice too.

I would love to see that. Java really deserves to die a death at this point.

Here we go again, another Java hater for no reason. What should we replace it with? someCrap.js? someOtherCrap.py?

You really have no idea what you're talking about. Killing Java would be a ridiculous thing to do. You live in such a bubble.

I work with Java every day. Java and Spring pay my bills at the moment but that doesn't lessen my contempt for the platform. Overly amateurish nature of the community/ecosystem is a huge issue when you are building enterprise level applications (but have no choice really, because it is your company's technology of choice - usually because they are too cheap to pay for decent dev tools).

The whole community is full of de facto "standards" and half baked libraries which are usually results of someone's summer project.

The language in and of itself is alright (although massively outdated compared to more modern alternatives like C#), but the virtual machine and the nature of the ecosystem make me want to blow my brains out on daily basis. Don't even get me started on the recent security debacle.

I don't know a lot about these new *.js technologies but if they are right tools for the job, then yes, I wouldn't have anything against using them where appropriate.

So, do you mean Java or the JVM? Because here we're talking about the JVM; that means Java, Clojure, Groovy, JRuby, Scala etc.

Sometimes the JVM isn't the right tool; Java the language is often the wrong tool. But when you need to write large, high-performance, backend software, the JVM is pretty much the only rational choice. C/C++ is too expensive effort-wise, in development, in maintenance and in monitoring. Erlang is awesome, but it's too slow for some things. .Net is not robust on non-windows platforms (I'm not sure about this, but this is the common perception). Go is slower than Java, lacks the huge ecosystem, and also doesn't provide all the JVM goodies like runtime instrumentation and profiling, hot code swapping, good monitoring etc. Rust is too immature (and won't give you those benefits either). So, pretty often, the JVM is the only choice and you think it's time to kill it?

I also work the the JVM (but not Java) everyday. The JVM and it's libraries are arguably the strongest part of the Java ecosystem. You really need to experience other languages and their library ecosystems before you make grandiose comments like these.

> Don't even get me started on the recent security debacle.

I'm kinda curious to get you started on the security debacle, actually.

Do you ship Java software that runs client-side? Spring is usually for server-side; if you're just on the server side, though, how has the security debacle affected you?

I generally agree about the ecosystem (yup, just gotta avoid most of it) and the core language (though the clunkyness is somewhat mitigated by IDE facilities for auto-generating code).

But I mostly spend my time on either client-side JavaScript or server-side Java, and it's the JavaScript side that drives me crazy -- in the JVM, things just work. I've hit runtime bugs maybe twice in 14 years working with Java on the server side, and one of those was on the AS/400 (!), and unless I'm doing something stupid, it's fast.

Maybe you need a better job at a better company that hires better technical talent so you're not forever stuck on your legacy, xml configured Spring stack?

You said some insightful and interesting things there, but two things in particular are most striking: 1) You have no choice. 2) You don't know about new technologies. I sense a potential roadmap for you here! Start learning, build something to show people you've learned, and start looking. Whenever you feel trapped, you're becoming obsolete. Don't be a victim, be a conqueror.

If you think the Java community and ecosystem are amateurish, better not take a closer look at any of the others...

I'd vote for replacing it with Mono.

Modern VM design, vastly superior flagship language, pretty solid on the side languages* too, better platform support (Thanks Xamarin!), and best yet it's Free. Like really Free, not Oracle-style "Here's the source code so you can maybe hack on our implementation a bit but if you try doing anything we don't like we'll sue your ass" 'free'.

* Not really a great Lisp for the platform yet, but I prefer F# to Scala. Much cleaner syntax, 'feels' more functional.

Mono isn't proven anywhere near as much as the JVM.

I don't know why this is being downvoted. It's true that the JVM is one of the things in the Java ecosystem that is looked upon as a massive success.

Probably because you decry someone for living in a bubble but then proceed to inflate your own. Yeah, the JVM is great, but not everything that fails to live up to its incredible success is "unproven".

That may be the case but Mono still isn't proven as much as the JVM is.

Absolutely true that the JVM gets more use. But it's also true that the present situation is never set in stone. Remember how popular it was to malign Java back in the late 90s?

And it's also true that the CLR really is technically superior to the JVM on a whole slew of points. It has runtime-level support for generics (meaning C# lets you do all sorts of nice things with them that Java doesn't support). It has user-defined value types. It supports coroutines (i.e., 'yield'). It supports anonymous functions and closures. For those who just can't leave pointers alone, it even has unsafe blocks. And so on.

So while it's definitely not "proven" in a sense that will impress your average PHB, in terms of technical merit I don't think there's really any comparison. Mono wins hands-down.

If you want "proven" you should probably be using NodeJS then... not for GUI apps, but for headless apps and services... since it's core engine is V8, which runs on nearly a third of the desktops out there with far more regular use than Java. And the language JS, with more developers using it than just about every other language combined.

This is kind of tongue in cheek, but seriously... NodeJS is relatively new (since 2009) and it's gained a LOT of traction... it isn't the perfect solution, but then again nothing is. I like Mono and have used it, they've worked through a lot of the earlier issues, and it's pretty decent at this point... IIRC it's the core of the Unity tools, as well as having Xamarin tools available to support the majority of mobile platforms.

I've heard good things about .net from Windows-only developers, but I haven't heard much from developers on other platforms. Seems to me developers who aren't on Windows end up as second class citizens.

Is there anyone here with experience developing for Mono on Linux and Mac? What's it like in reality?

It's not as good as it is on Windows, simply because of Visual Studio (let alone Visual Studio plus ReSharper). I must admit, it's enough of a productivity improver that even on my Mac I prefer to do most my hacking in VS running under VMWare. But that's not really anything against MonoDevelop, it's just that lately Visual Studio's gotten so good that it's really hard to resist using it if you already own a copy.

Compared to most other open source platforms, OTOH, I don't think it feels like one's been relegated to a language underclass at all. Of course you don't get the benefit of working in the operating system's official first-class language like you do on Windows, but in fairness that's a privilege that you never get to enjoy when working in most languages - including Java, Python, Ruby, and so forth.

As far as why it's less popular outside of Windows, I'm inclined to think that's mostly down to social effects. Java's got the Linux enterprise development space so wrapped up right now that I suspect trying to pivot to Mono would be a bit like trying to push a glacier. Businesses aren't in the habit of rewriting millions of lines of code on a whim.

I definitely agree about VS. Microsoft got a bunch of heat for VS2012, but it's been their best release yet. Their IntelliSense support for C# is unmatched by any other language-IDE pairing I've used.

That said, I've used MonoDevelop in Windows and OS X and it works pretty damn well. The Mono project has done a great job mirroring the .NET API and runtime.

Isn't Mono way slower than the JVM or has every benchmark I've ever seen been lying to me?

(And also, doesn't Mono just replace the hypothetical threat of a lawsuit from Oracle with the hypothetical threat of a lawsuit from Microsoft?)

Clojure runs on .NET AFAIK.

No reason?

I'd say their ham-handed approach to security and their contentment to sit with their thumbs up their arses, while vulnerabilities whose magnitude compare favorably with the US national debt are being exploited widely is more than enough reason to hate Java.

At least Microsoft has the good sense to issue OOB patches when something serious enough comes up!

The current state of Java means that running the browser plugin paints a huge bullseye on your back. It got bad enough that the freaking department of homeland security recently issued a warning to disable the plugin for your own good.

Then stop running it in the browser.

Do you have any idea how ubiquitous java is in the enterprise? Everywhere uses java.

Have you ever worked on anything that needs to be scalable, extensible and maintainable?

Everywhere used Flash, and look at where that's going. Ubiquity is not a valid response to "this sucks, we should start thinking of better ideas".

Scalability, maintainability, and extensibility are not unique to Java.

Nobody's talking about the browser plugin. That just adds noise to the conversation.

> Nobody's talking about the browser plugin.

If you're talking about Java, you're talking about the browser plugin. It all executes on the same VM.

You can't simply declare it off limits given the massive and repeated security issues surrounding it, combined with its ubiquity (especially for countries not ending in "America" - Clientside java is very popular in European banks.)

> If you're talking about Java, you're talking about the browser plugin. It all executes on the same VM.

I can't see how this makes any more sense than "If you're talking about Visual Studio, you're talking about Mac OS X. It all executes on the same processor." Yes, they both share the same underlying technology, but they are hardly indistiguishable — you can certainly talk about one without addressing the other. You could delete the browser plugin from every computer on the planet and it wouldn't make normal Java apps work any better or worse. The plugin depends on the Java platform, but the Java platform is not in any way dependent on the plugin.

> You can't simply declare it off limits given the massive and repeated security issues surrounding it

I'm not declaring it "off-limits" — I'm suggesting that it is irrelevant to the discussion here. Yes, there are security issues with it, but since nobody here is saying "I think the Java browser plugin is a boss idea," you're either arguing with nobody or trying to denigrate the JVM as a client and server technology based on the fact that it isn't suitable for embedding in a browser. I can't see any way that the Java plugin is really relevant. Similarly, if I went and wrote a terrible plugin to allow Ruby "applets," bringing up that plugin as a criticism of Ruby in other contexts would not be productive.

Please: it's some_other_crap.py.

Java bashing is the cool thing to do. And just to add more wood into the fire I'm gonna drop a quote from Larry Ellison himself that I think is spot on. He said something like the only industry more driven by fashion than fashion itself is IT.

Petition: Programmers, stop using the Oracle versions of Java. Too many of your Java programs only work properly with Oracle JVM, etc. Instead, standardize on another one of the Java implementations so that it can become the premiere implementation and really screw with Oracle.

Which other Java implementations? Apache's is abandoned. OpenJDK is basically still Oracle. What's left? IBM's JDK?

I'm really a bit surprised that there's not a prominent fork of OpenJDK by now, concentrating on the VM and not the Java compiler ("OpenJVM").

Tail calls, value types, easier direct calls to C to process large regions of data without copying (e.g. lapack): there are many things which could benefit non-Java languages on the JVM like Clojure and Scala that are taking too long with Oracle stewardship (as they did with Sun's as well). Maybe these things are in fact too hard to implement for small or unfunded groups?

I hope not, I think it's high time.

Probably because of the requirements Oracle would place on the fork to call it "Java" and give access to the TCK. They have said the only open source projects that would receive a TCK are forks of OpenJDK, but then you can't re-license it very friendly and who knows what other restrictions Oracle would put on you.

Some of us (especially in the performance-oriented crowd, or people using large heaps) really have no choice here.

I'm curious, are other Java implementations (e.g. OpenJDK) really that bad? I mean, quite a lot of influential/resourceful companies are behind it, are they unwilling or unable to improve it?

The OpenJDK project is run by Oracle.

Zing? Not that that really stands a chance of becoming the new standard because of licensing costs.

Having done a bit of Clojure and some server-side Java here and there: what depends on an Oracle JVM? I think I've always used open versions...

This petition is complaining about the neighbor on your left letting his dog crap in your yard, when the neighbor on the right is running a meth lab. We are carrying around phones filled with spyware to track what we listen to, watch and read an where we do it.

How hard is it to discern even our sleep habits? We put them on the charger beside the bed at night and tune in to Pandora. If our phones can't tell if we're sleeping around or alcoholics already, it won't be long until they can.

Like most petitions this one is a distraction. It keeps our energy focused on the wrong part of a larger issue and one where any leverage we have cannot create fundamental change.

And what do you propose Microsoft or Apple would do with the knowledge that I'm an alcoholic who is cheating on my wife? Why would they care? They're in business to make money, and there's not much money in extortion, not for long. If my phone called my wife automatically to tell her where I was and what I was doing, it wouldn't be long before no one bought that phone and Apple went out of business from the privacy lawsuits.

Yeah, we carry devices that are spying on us. Why do they spy? To sell us more stuff. They don't try to hide that fact. Your fearmongering is off topic here, and fairly irrelevant elsewhere too.

"Why do they spy? To sell us more stuff."

They spy because they can. They spy because the companies involved believe that the data they collect has value. They spy because the companies involved believe that the data they collect might have even more value in the future.

The companies involved aren't in the business of selling you stuff. They sell data about you to others. Sure that might be a retailer of Hello Kitty backpacks with scenes of unicorns shitting rainbows. It might be a presidential campaign. It might be a government - and in that case, the value exchanged might be trade privileges rather than cash.

Large commercial ventures willing to harm many people for the sake of profit are not unknown to history e.g. the East India Company and International Association of the Congo. Likewise, industries adopting standard practices which do so - e.g. tetra-ethyl lead.

I may be wrong. But I don't think that just because I live in the US corporations have any more respect for my human dignity than they do for the citizens of Honduras or Pakistan or Albania.

Please point me to where I can buy non-public data about potential backpack purchasers (or any person for that matter) from Apple/Google/Microsoft.

Until then, your statements are nothing more than FUD.

Not wrong at all, understated if anything. The Harvard Business Review highlighted Big Data a few issues ago, and public interest groups like EPIC and the EFF are on this full time. It doesn't take much reading from those sources or the many others to see how valuable big data i.e., spying, can be. Just follow the money.

They will make money from your data regardless of whether it "outs" you to your wife or not. They have no respect for your privacy which means they will sell out some of their userbase (or other people they happen to have data on) if it will make them money.

> Why do they spy?

You're thinking of this type of consequences: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230445860457748...

The problem is this type of consequences: http://www.newcreditrules.com/newcreditrulescom/2009/01/bewa...

Secret formulas deciding our credit limits and insurance premiums because spying gives them information is the problem. Not the information that we might pay more for a hotel room.

"Why do they spy?"

One big reason they spy because there are a lot of webdevs who either have no idea or do not care about PII. Why would someone put a link on their website, to Facebook or Twitter for example, basically giving them all of their extremely valuable web logs for free? These companies make big bucks from those unnecessary "live links" and go to great lengths to avoid questions about why they "need" to be live (and they don't).

In a world in which computers chips are ubiquitous and connected it is almost impossible to avoid this kind of risk. We implicitly trust numerous companies who could have left back doors in a system. I trust Android more than the random ASIC in my phone or the proprietary software in my router.

I am typing this on my smartphone. Obviously I accept some risk as well. I suspect we would agree that our acceptance doesn't make it less of a risk. I don't think that my acceptance such risks makes the petition any less of a trivial distraction from the broader and more serious issue.

Oracle is not the poster child for spyware.

>We are carrying around phones filled with spyware to track what we listen to, watch and read an where we do it.

That's some great FUD. In fact I think I've heard it somewhere before..

Isn't this the reason that RMS refuses to carry a phone?

Are you seriously believing nobody (be it a random app or your phone seller) has ever tracked your GPS history, looked at your media player library (which includes play counts), looked at who you have in your addressbook, etc ? Yet there are (or were) APIs to do all these..

You can care about it or not, but saying it's false is kinda bold.

I didn't say it was false, I said it was FUD. FUD isn't necessarily untrue, merely overblown and overhyped.

I'm certain that the apps that have "tracked my GPS history" have done so with my consent and knowledge.

I use Google Play for my music, so there's no doubt that my playlist and playcounts are on someone else's server somewhere. I also know that at least one Google engineer has seen my playlists because I had to ask for help with an issue with the service before surrounding tag edits.

"Looked at who I have in my address book" - sure. I use an Android device so all of my contacts are backed up on a Google server. I somehow doubt that anybody is rifling through that information.

My response to all of the above is "So what"?

There are APIs to pull that information, but they require my consent to do so (the permissions before apps are downloaded, and those can be restricted anyways with the aid of something like LBE Privacy Guard).

Malware and apps that surreptitiously access this data are rare.

Are you offering to pay for Java development and maintenance? I mean... someone has to. How is this not a case of demanding things for free?

If the petition were asking Oracle to establish a nonprofit that could support Java and offering to pay the first $10,000 toward it, I'd have a quite different reaction. But this seems to me no different from agitating for "free healthcare" without even mentioning who might pay for it, just, "it should be free!"

First of all, distributing something for free doesn't make the installation of unwanted deceptive software any more legit.

Second, Java is the basis for a lot of very expensive Oracle software. Does the Java updater work differently on their machines?

To be fair, Oracle is (or was planning on) making heaps of money out of Java for business. Client-side Java seems like less than a portion of their plan to start with (anyone who mentions JavaFX here gets banned from the internet) - I mean, start with hiring a designer for the download page. This disrespect to users is exactly why they're treating it that way. If it's not that important to them, might as well import com.oracle.money-making-addon; No big deal either way.

Anyway, as someone who regularly writes software for artists and designers with Java, I lately find myself avoiding JVM-based workflow on the client-side. It's just too much of a hassle for anyone I work with.

Agreed, I'm a big fan of Java and have written client software with it but the annoyances are rapidly beginning to outweigh the benefits. Bad press, awful UI support on OS X, Web Start's seeming disappearing/reappearing act... What's the point anymore?

What do you like instead? AFAIK there really isn't any good cross-platform client software development environment, particularly if you care about the Mac. My impression is that Java is no more or less crap than everything else.

So maybe a petition to get Oracle to stop bundling JavaFX with the rest of the JDK...?

I mean, what the hell are they thinking anyway? That we're going to be so awed by it just because it's rammed down our throats? Nobody is ever going to use JavaFX any more than they're going to use Silverlight. They should get over it already.

The petition doesn't ask for it to be free. Personally I have no problems with them including adverts, and they can make money by providing additional tools and services. The problem is that they are bundling borderline malware, using deceptive techniques.

.net is free and doesn't come bundled with toolbars and crapware

It's supposed to sell Windows licenses.

True. The point I was trying to make was that Microsoft pays for the development of .net using revenue from other activities. Why can't Oracle do the same?

I don't think it's fair to say that .net is very effective in selling windows licences when mono can run CLR programs on more platforms than java can.

Despite the existence of mono, the vast majority of .net code runs on Windows machines.

Except Windows is crapware.

Go to http://www.ninite.com and get the Java installer from there. It's malware-free and streamlined.

Only if you implicitly trust ninite.

We're good guys, it's OK. :)

Seriously though, we'd lose all our Ninite Pro customers if we pulled any crap with our installations. Since the free version is our marketing department we'd be idiots to mess that up too.

Personally, I'd take that deal.

The devil you know is... worse than the devil you don't?

I am at least a potential customer of ninite's, so they have some incentive not to screw me over. Not so much with Oracle.

Not really.

I trust both companies well enough to install software downloaded from their servers. But I don't want a pointless installer that tries to trick me into crapware. So Ninite is the clear winner there.

But does it solve the annoying java updater problem?

If you're talking about those pop-ups users get on new versions our Pro version can turn those off: http://ninite.com/help/features/disableautoupdate.html

That is cool. However paying 20$/month just to turn off the java updater popups is a bit overkill for me :)

Can anyone please tell me why Oracle is doing that? I don't get it, it seems to me that the amount of unhappy people would eclipse any penny they might earn with such cheap tactics, it is not like this would give them a 10% profit increase.

Oracle don't care about happy people, and a lack of happy people dealing with Oracle has not stopped their massive profits so why would they start now?

I think this is extra worse than normal bundling, because its a friggin platform! A basis for applications, it smells as bad as Microsoft asking to install a toolbar during the OS install.

I just remembered that Ubuntu ships with Amazon ads on their OS search bar...

Seriously, how worse stuff can get?

I imagine a future.

A bright future.

A future where everyone sees data, with Google Glasses like technology and beyond.

And thus, where they have ads in front of them all the time, you arrive home, look at your daughter in the crib, and suddenly your entire vision is plastered with a semi-transparent ad for diapers, and you blink, it goes away, and another shows up, a ad for automatic cribs with quad core processor and capable of singing and telling stories on its own.

Okay, the Ubuntu thing is really out-of-hand at this point. It really is not that big of a deal. One terminal command and they're gone.

Seriously, Canonical is a company, and they have to pay their bills like the rest of us. The Amazon search isn't "spyware," it's nothing but an additional search lens, and you can turn it off.

This stupid meme is getting really fucking old.

By bundling advert-ridden applications with their latest OS, Microsoft aren't really all that far off the mark from your comment.

Are the advert-ridden applications made by Microsoft? If so that says something about how far they have fallen. Why compromise your brand when your making money on hardware and software?

I'm fine with advertisements in desktop apps. Those guys have to make money. But I think there should be a way to pay a fee and forcibly remove them even if the developer didn't code for it. It's your machine, after all.

There's ads in Microsoft bundled apps as well[1], not just third party developers.

[1] http://winsupersite.com/windows-8/microsoft-cheapens-windows...

They're in news apps, not in the email client or web browser.

Are these applications really bundled by Microsoft or are they pre-installed [1] by OEMs that sell Win8 with their hardware?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-installed_software

If you do a clean install of Windows 8, several of the bundled applications - such as Weather - have adverts placed in them.

I didn't know that. Thanks for the clarification.

The "advert-ridden" applications are without exception, storefronts.

You enter an app who's purpose is to allow you to purchase videos or music, and then complain that there are ads there?

The Ask toolbar integrates itself into IE, Firefox and Chrome. It runs even when Java doesn't and is difficult to get rid of this.

So this is way different than having a couple of banner ads showing up inside the app only when the app is running and you can uninstall the app in five seconds.

If you're reading this, you're probably too small.

I believe ORCL wants to drive off all their nuisance D and E customers, which is all the riffraff not paying them $50m/yr. After taking over Sun, they've moved all the good stuff behind a paywall, jacked the cost of legacy products and of supporting them, added onerous contracts with stiff penalties. For example, if you ever drop support, there's a big fine to rejoin. Another example is if you're an OEM they make it very very hard to simply sell their stuff. My $work is an OEM that also uses several products ORCL bought that used to be okay, but now we're getting off them before the sleaze and expense kills us.

So Java is probably one of those standalone business units they need but hope it will make a little profit of its own. The first attempt to monetize, sue GOOG, didn't go so good if you recall.

I believe the crapware bundling was started by Sun, it predates acquisition.

Most of the time Sun just used it to advertise OpenOffice which was their own product.

Does anyone remember if Sun at any time bundled adware or other forms of crapware, esp. using deceptive tactics?

Sun Java included either the Google or Yahoo browser toolbar, and IIRC it prompted you about an antivirus program for a while.

Thanks. I was obviously looking at Sun through rose colored shades

You mean: stop bundling crapware with our crapware!

Note: I have no problem with Java on the server or client, just the applet and browser plugin model.

I remember a time when java applets were cool. I don't think it's a bad idea entirely, just dated, and eclipsed by other technologies.

Perhaps eclipsed is not the best choice of words here :)

I rarely install Java on a new machine because of their installer. It feels too maleware-ish to me. In fact, I would go out of my way to find a non-Java alternative for most software I need.

There is a standalone install.

I already voted: I uninstalled Java from every Windows PC I have.

The beauty of cross-platform support is you can uninstall it from every device you have!

I can sure see Oracle responding to a petition on the Internet!

Ah, internet petitions. The best way to feel good about doing absolutely nothing.

This is what I was trying to figure out. Say they get a quarter million signatures; does that mean Oracle will remove the Ask toolbar? I highly doubt it.

Few days ago I was watching a movie and in the middle the java-wants-your-presmission-for-update popup just appeared over my movie.. Thats it. Enough is enough. Java is the most annoying and probably most unsecure thing on my computer.. I started removing programs that need java and replacing them with native alternatives.. the last one remaining is KSG client ( http://www.gokgs.com/ ) - it will be a tough one, I dont want to give up playing GO on my favourite server.. but.. as long as the java installer/updater behaves this way.. I will not tolerate it on my computer.

[Somewhat relevant, somewhat off-topic]

Commission collections and ethics aside, I actually cannot understand the venom towards Ask (its search results). I believe in keeping web searches open with multiple choices made available to users, so I actively support all viable alternatives (meaning I use Ask, Blekko, ddg, lycos, yahoo (bing) among others instead of Google for regular everyday searches). Ask search results are very much comparable to Google's, i.e., the search is not "inferior" as claimed.

As for ads, google's adsense ads are just as much in-your-face as the others (ymmv), so don't think this point is such a big thing either as claimed.

I'd never used Ask, so after reading your post I compares a search for "cuda device to host memory copy" [1] and [2]

On google I saw no ads, and the links on the first page of results usually contain the search term.

On Ask there are ads, and they look very much like search results - there's no coloured background to identify them as such - and the search results contain irrelevant links to other Ask properties like "Can I Copy From Youtube? | Ask Jeeves" and "How Memory Stick | ask.co.uk/how"

Personally I won't be switching from Google to Ask.

I'll admit we might see different things - let me know if you'd like screenshots.

[1] http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=cuda+device+to+host+memory+... [2] http://uk.ask.com/web?q=cuda+device+to+host+memory+copy


Good show. I checked your links on Maxthon [my IE without the IE baggage] and on Firefox (default browser with ABP add-on) for comparison.

1. On FF I have ABP installed, but there were no ads on Maxthon either for Ask. Is it due to "search bubble" or something else? Not sure. However, I too use uk.ask.com for my searches like you, so the 'bubble' should be the same for me as well. Hmmmm.

2. I got those two false positives also. But the rest of the search results were similar between both search engines (SO, rice.edu, stanford.edu, sourceforge, NVIDIA). I'll admit that I would have simply filtered those two anomalies visually and not given it a second thought. But wouldn't you say, search-for-search, the landing pages were pretty similar in the results returned (barring those two stupidities)?

Here's the first screen I see on ask (on a 1050px high monitor): http://imgur.com/MWk9wm2

And here's what I see on Google: http://imgur.com/nalUhES

Managed to find a suitably large monitor. Here's my landing page for comparison. On Opera with Adblocker installed. I get the same results on Maxthon that has no addons to block ads. Let me know if you want to see Maxthon screen.

Ask: http://i.imgur.com/rX72PDd.png

Google: http://i.imgur.com/Q0BusaH.png

Interesting. I guess with an ad blocker, Ask isn't so bad.

Yes, definitely been an interesting discussion. Thanks :-). Even more surprising for me was Maxthon's ad-free results as well.

FWIW, I'd definitely recommend looking into other alternative search engines like those I mentioned earlier. Usually my opera's speed dial default engine is dogpile [http://www.dogpile.com] that curates Google, Yahoo and Yandex results into one search result on one page. Definitely also worth looking into if you're interested.

I use Bing often, as I love Bing's homepage. Oh! those panoramic pictures. You got to give it to them. They definitely got that UX right. ;-)

Edit: Blekko and DDG are quite fab. And for an old contender, Lycos quite literally, rocks! Try them.

I agree that the vitriol towards Ask is unwarranted, though I do find the inclusion in the Java install to be very much in the realm of crapware.

Ask gets money by tricking you to click on not-quite-relevent ads, whereas Google gets money by providing revelent ads, no tricking involved.

You can't really split Ask in half and talk about the quality of its search results vs the ethics of the company.

Larry is saving up for another Hawaii island. Every penny counts.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell no, i am not going to sign this. Like what is it going to change?

The latest JavaFX release, which is the new way of building java desktop apps, encourages you to bundle the java runtime in your app, which gives you a lot of benefits including avoiding the problem discussed here. It's a wonderful platform I encourage everybody to look into.

1) Ask Toolbar is about as mild a bundle-in as it gets.

2) You can set Java update mode to manual.

3) Chrome (and possibly another browser) asks permission before using Java on any page, so I consider it a low-risk vector for drive-bys.

1 and 2 are opt-out while 3 is opt-in, they should all be opt-in.

Absolutely disagree on #2. The application should not have to ask for permission to update, especially given the security climate that Java lives in.

If you have to ask the average user for permission to update, updates won't get done. It's that simple.

Oracle should take a page from Chrome's book, here. Update silently in the background, and then notify if a restart or a relaunch is required to effect the change.

Maybe someone (and by "someone" I of course mean "not me!" - my own internet nerd-rage falls well short of doing this, not being much of a Windows user) should write, maintain, and SEO/social-media the hell out of a "Java crap-ware un-installer", which prominently advertises MS-SQL, SAP, and perhaps Postgres while it does it's uninstalling… Then get all the geeks to start telling their bosses "Oh, Java's hijacked your search again? No problem, just search for the "Java Bundled Software Uninstaller" and download it and run it!"

Crapware un-installer? Sounds more like a crapware exchanger with Postgres tacked on...

Enterprises will put up with almost anything, including this type of bullshit. The cost of switching is far too great. Same goes for lots of Java devs who make their living off the Oracle ecosystem. Also, probably most consumers that install Java don't realize how crappy this tactic is.

Meh. Let this kill the default Java install on Windows.

When I need to deliver an app written in Java to the end user I just include my own JRE. You have to do it pretty much anyway in order to guarantee that your app works regardless of quirks of particular system/installation.

How easy would it be for someone else to make an OpenJDK build with Windows installer and auto-updater, but no crapware?

for x86 Windows 32-bit (offline install), not entirely satisfactory if you need 64-bit but still


This is just treating a symptom of a disease.

Couldn't someone just build OpenJDK for Windows and offer it as an alternative install?

Because, I'll tell you what, I sure didn't get any crapware when I typed `sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk`.

OpenJDK isn't broadly supported by some important commercial packages. Atlassian, for one, requires the Sun/Oracle JDK.


The problem is that the OpenJDK has problems with graphical toolkits, specifically Swing. Intellij (Java IDE with a lot of Swing) runs a lot worse under the OpenJDK than under the Sun's JVM. I might be wrong, but I don't think this has changed recently.

For a while, using OpenJDK was the only way to get proper font smoothing on Linux in IntelliJ. It doesn't display any warnings anymore and works fine with OpenJDK now.

"proper"? Teach me your magic, my Java IDEs still stand out like sore thumbs compared to ST2/gedit/vim/etc.

I keep hearing this and I can't find any examples myself. I use IntelliJ occasionally and haven't had any issues using it with OpenJDK 7, though it does warn me IIRC. Similarly, with Minecraft, I've had no issues, though I'm not an avid player by any means.

Either way, it'd be a nice way to give Oracle the middle finger about this.

With, what, 3 to 6 million Java programmers I think it's going to be very difficult to get 250 000 signatures.

I think "with Java" is somehow tautological, and redundant.)

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