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MacOS X Just Works - After Tricking It

posted Friday Oct 19, 2012 by Scott Ertz

MacOS X Just Works - After Tricking It

On Wednesday of this week, Apple pushed out an "update" to Lion and Mountain Lion, removing Java support from all browsers installed on the computer. It also uninstalls the Java preferences application, as it is not needed to set preferences for a framework that is not installed. This leaves the computer completely unable to interact with any Java-based software on the Internet in its current state. When getting to Java software, the user will be presented with a placeholder, similar to a new computer that does not yet have Flash installed, that informs the user that there is a plug-in missing. To use that website, the user will have to re-install Java.

Yes, Apple is not preventing you from using Java on the computer, they are just making it a more difficult process. This is part of Apple's war on the Internet, which started with Mobile Flash being absent from the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Unlike Apple's dislike of Adobe, which they are almost single-handedly responsible for being successful, this move has less to do with hurting a former lover and more to do with appearing to not be responsible for MacOS X's security issues.

Earlier in the year, Apple had a lot of problems with security issues, provided almost entirely by Oracles Java framework. In fact, Java is known within the software industry as a disaster when it comes to security. It is one of the easiest ways for an outside system to access your computer and take over its operations. Oracle had to rush out a patch to the Apple version of the framework after it was learned that there was a MASSIVE security hole, and Apple did the same, patching holes in the OS that were exposed through Java.

I believe that Apple believes that, without Java pre-installed on the operating system, that people will not blame Apple for future holes in software that they are forced to download and install themselves. My guess is they will also be able to get away with not patching holes as quickly if users are led to believe it is their own fault their computer was hijacked. This does bring to light more evidence that Apple's computers are not the Fort Knox that owners are led to believe. Until now Apples were only safe because there were only 8 of them in the wild and no one was going to spend their time writing any code for them, let alone malicious. As more people purchase the computers for their perceived security, they become bigger security risks. Classic catch 22, eh?

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