TechWeek Europe yesterday reported that Apple’s latest Java update for Mac OS X not only fixes a number of security flaws, it also removes the browser plug-in from the user’s system. This is in response to long standing problems with Java vulnerabilities after six hundred thousand Apple Macs were infected with the Flashback worm earlier this year. Apple’s approach to controlling software updates for Mac’s resulted in patches written by Oracle for Java 6.x being rewritten and distributed compounding serious security flaws further with the inevitable delays. Apple is now only responsible for Java updates on Macs running OS 10.7.2 or below, therefore upgrading the OS to a later version will result in the use of Java 7 which is developed and updated directly by Oracle although it too isn’t without problems.
Whats the problem with disabling Java you may ask? Well its well known that Java is really the undisputed champion when it comes to carrying larger data sets through a web browser and most managed file transfer software products use Java, almost without exception! Why Java, well thats another discussion which has been very well documented over on the FileCatalyst web site and whilst Mac’s in general don’t account for the largest desktop market share, around 6.5% the lack of Java in OSX is a real problem for Mac users of managed file transfer solutions.
The resolution? Well Apple aren’t stopping users from running Java on their Mac’s rather ensuring that they take the decision to enable it, this however is likely to further strain relationships between Mac users and the predominately Windows based IT departments. I suspect that we’ll hear more about this over the coming weeks and months and given our focus on the creative marketplace we’ll keep you informed.