Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It’s really sad, but Oracle started bundling crapware like the Ask “app” even for Mac OS X users now. If you’re forced to use Java, luckily they do have an option to disable this, so the next time you need to update Java you won’t be presented with a crapware ad.

If you’re a Minecraft user and you’re running Windows, the installer doesn’t require Java to be installed anymore . We’re hoping the same thing happens for OS X soon, but for now as far as we’re aware the installer requires Java. And if you’re running Windows, you can set a registry key that will prevent any crapware ads … from Java, at least.

Disabling Java’s Crapware Ads

To disable the crapware ads on OS X, just open up System Preferences.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

At the very bottom of the window you should see a Java icon.

Once you click that, it will open up a separate window, and then click on the Advanced tab.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

At the very bottom of the window, you can click the checkbox for the “Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java” option.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It’s a pity that you have to go through these steps to prevent this nonsense.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It’s really sad, but Oracle started bundling crapware like the Ask “app” even for Mac OS X users now. If you’re forced to use Java, luckily they do have an option to disable this, so the next time you need to update Java you won’t be presented with a crapware ad.

If you’re a Minecraft user and you’re running Windows, the installer doesn’t require Java to be installed anymore. We’re hoping the same thing happens for OS X soon, but for now as far as we’re aware the installer requires Java. And if you’re running Windows, you can set a registry key that will prevent any crapware ads… from Java, at least.

RELATED ARTICLES Minecraft Doesn’t Need Java Installed Anymore; It’s Time to Uninstall JavaAvoid Java’s Ask Toolbar Installations With This One Weird Registry Hack

Disabling Java’s Crapware Ads

To disable the crapware ads on OS X, just open up System Preferences.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

At the very bottom of the window you should see a Java icon.

Once you click that, it will open up a separate window, and then click on the Advanced tab.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

At the very bottom of the window, you can click the checkbox for the “Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java” option.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It’s a pity that you have to go through these steps to prevent this nonsense.

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The practice of offering up other software alongside Java updates, including emergency security updates to patch critical vulnerabilities, again came under fire last week as new reports surfaced of deceptive installation techniques.

During a conference call with leaders of the Java User Groups (JUG) last week, Doland Smith, who heads Oracle’s OpenJDK team, cited contractual obligations that prevented him from discussing the bundling deal in detail. But he hinted that no changes were in the offing.

“When you have a commercial relationship like this, not only are you dealing with your [own] corporate policies on communication, and revenue recognition and all that kind of stuff, but you also have a commercial partnership and agreement that you have to abide by and follow,” said Smith during the call.

Currently, the Java installer for Windows includes an offer for the Ask.com browser toolbar. Unless users explicitly uncheck a box on the Java installation screen — in other words, opt out — the toolbar automatically downloads and installs, and the browser’s default search engine changes to Ask.com.

That raised the ire of long-time Windows blogger Ed Bott of ZDNet, and also got the attention of Ben Edelman, an associate professor at Harvard and expert on adware, online fraud and Internet privacy.

In pieces published Jan. 22, both Bott and Edelman took aim at Oracle for bundling the Ask.com toolbar with Java.

Bott found that the Ask.com toolbar was not immediately installed, but waited 10 minutes after Java finished to kick in. “I’ve never seen a legitimate program with an installer that behaves this way,” said Bott, who speculated that the technique was an attempt to hide the toolbar’s installation from technically-astute users.

Edelman was also caustic in his criticism of Oracle and the Ask.com toolbar installation, deeming the latter deceptive. Even worse, Edelman said, was that the offer was included with critical Java updates that patched recent “zero-day” vulnerabilities being exploited by criminals.

“The Java update is only needed as a result of a serious security flaw in Java,” said Edelman. “It is troubling to see Oracle profit from this security flaw by using a security update as an opportunity to push users to install extra advertising software.”

By bundling adware with its security updates, Oracle is teaching users to distrust its patching process, Edelman added.

Oracle’s Smith disagreed.

“It’s not specifically a security issue. It’s a commercial, business-side issue,” he said during last week’s call. “The reason it’s tied with security is that it’s showing up when we push out new installers on the Windows platform. Really, it’s not related to security directly.”

Smith also defended the practice by saying Oracle had inherited the deal when it acquired Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java, in 2010. “This is not a new business, this is not something that Oracle started,” Smith said. “This is a business that Sun initiated a long time ago.”

Sun had bundled third-party software with Java since at least 2005, when it offered a Google toolbar. In the following years, Sun made similar arrangements with Microsoft and Yahoo, before switching to Ask.com.

While Smith stopped far short of saying that Oracle would drop the bundling, he tried to sooth obviously ruffled feathers among the JUG community. “It’s something that we are looking at and constantly evaluating whether it’s worth doing,” he said. “What I can say is, we hear you loud and clear. We’re aware of the concerns and we’re looking at what we can do moving forward.”

He also declined to give the JUG leaders an explanation for the odd installation behavior of the Ask.com toolbar, even as he agreed with another caller that it was “squirrelly.”

“I agree that on the surface, when you look at, it’s like, ‘Why is it that way?'” Smith said. “It could be that we are never able to give a satisfactory answer. But I hope at some point we can clarify what that’s about and why.”

But Ask.com was more forthcoming with details.

“With Java, it’s true our installer waits 10 minutes before running the install process, but this to ensure the JRE [Java Runtime Environment] updates properly without additional strain on a user’s computer,” an Ask.com spokeswoman said in an email reply to questions Monday. “This is not intended to trick users.”

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg’s RSS feed . His email address is [email protected]

Senior Reporter Gregg Keizer covers Windows, Office, Apple/enterprise, web browsers and web apps for Computerworld.

Lowell Heddings
Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stopLowell Heddings
Founder and CEO

Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work. Read more.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It’s really sad, but Oracle started bundling crapware like the Ask “app” even for Mac OS X users now. If you’re forced to use Java, luckily they do have an option to disable this, so the next time you need to update Java you won’t be presented with a crapware ad.

If you’re a Minecraft user and you’re running Windows, the installer doesn’t require Java to be installed anymore. We’re hoping the same thing happens for OS X soon, but for now as far as we’re aware the installer requires Java. And if you’re running Windows, you can set a registry key that will prevent any crapware ads… from Java, at least.

Disabling Java’s Crapware Ads

To disable the crapware ads on OS X, just open up System Preferences.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

At the very bottom of the window you should see a Java icon.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Once you click that, it will open up a separate window, and then click on the Advanced tab.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

At the very bottom of the window, you can click the checkbox for the “Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java” option.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It’s a pity that you have to go through these steps to prevent this nonsense.

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Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »

Spoiler: Don't just blindly click through prompts when installing Java, or else you'll get a little surprise, too.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Should you use Java? If you don’t need it, don’t install it; plenty of Java exploits and vulnerabilities can really make your day unpleasant, not to mention the crapware that Oracle puts on your system whenever you go to install Java.

As Windows users have experienced for some time now, the very company that officially distributes Java is also one that seemingly benefits from a revenue arrangement with Ask.com. Whenever you go to install Java on a Windows machine, you have to resist the urge to blindly click through the prompts to get the installation up and running. If you do, then you’re also going to install an annoying Ask toolbar on your system—and make Ask.com your default search provider in your browser. Yuck.

Those installing Java on OS X haven’t had to deal with such an issue, but that’s all changing now. According to numerous reports, the latest version of Java for Mac now also comes with Ask software—specifically, the “Search App by Ask,” which you’re asked whether you want to install as part of the Java installation process.

To Oracle’s credit, the company is fairly clear about the arrangement in the online instructions for installing Java on OS X.

“Oracle has partnered with companies that offer various products. The installer may present you with the option to install these programs when you install Java. After ensuring the desired programs are selected, click the Next button to continue the installation,” reads Oracle’s description.

As Engadget notes, Oracle’s decision to bundle crapware with Java has led to 20,000+ signature online petition that asks the company to reconsider its decision—a petition that’s been alive for more than two years, we should note.

“It is demeaning for a respected corporation such as Oracle to resort to such techniques only to make a small profit. Ask Toolbar hijacks user’s default search engine and forwards them to Ask search engine which resorts to various misleading advertisement techniques in order to confuse the unsuspecting users into clicking on their paid ads,” reads the petition.

While the integration of Ask.com software into the Java installation program might not rise to the level of, say, a Lenovo Superfish incident, it’s still unfortunate to see Oracle doubling down on adware.

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Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Should you use Java? If you don’t need it, don’t install it; plenty of Java exploits and vulnerabilities can really make your day unpleasant, not to mention the crapware that Oracle puts on your system whenever you go to install Java.

As Windows users have experienced for some time now, the very company that officially distributes Java is also one that seemingly benefits from a revenue arrangement with Ask.com. Whenever you go to install Java on a Windows machine, you have to resist the urge to blindly click through the prompts to get the installation up and running. If you do, then you’re also going to install an annoying Ask toolbar on your system—and make Ask.com your default search provider in your browser. Yuck.

Those installing Java on OS X haven’t had to deal with such an issue, but that’s all changing now. According to numerous reports, the latest version of Java for Mac now also comes with Ask software—specifically, the “Search App by Ask,” which you’re asked whether you want to install as part of the Java installation process.

To Oracle’s credit, the company is fairly clear about the arrangement in the online instructions for installing Java on OS X.

“Oracle has partnered with companies that offer various products. The installer may present you with the option to install these programs when you install Java. After ensuring the desired programs are selected, click the Next button to continue the installation,” reads Oracle’s description.

As Engadget notes, Oracle’s decision to bundle crapware with Java has led to 20,000+ signature online petition that asks the company to reconsider its decision—a petition that’s been alive for more than two years, we should note.

“It is demeaning for a respected corporation such as Oracle to resort to such techniques only to make a small profit. Ask Toolbar hijacks user’s default search engine and forwards them to Ask search engine which resorts to various misleading advertisement techniques in order to confuse the unsuspecting users into clicking on their paid ads,” reads the petition.

As many are painfully aware of, Oracle continues to not only bundle the Java installation with the useless Internet browser toolbar from Ask.com, but also enable its installation by default. In addition to the toolbar, Ask also replaces your favourite search engine in your browser with Ask.

Furthermore, the Java installation goes as far as to actually recommend installing this useless junk, meaning that any non IT-savvy person is more than likely to leave it checked and install it (after all, it was enabled by default and the friendly Java installer did recommend it, right?).

To add insult to injury, even if you remove the Ask Toolbar, you can be sure to see it again soon, when the next Java update hits you (which seem to happen quite often lately, due to loads of security fixes for Java, but that’s another story).

I’ll duly remove the check-mark to install Ask Toolbar, whenever I update Java, but when supporting my family and friends, it’s obvious they don’t.

How can I prevent the pesky Ask.com Toolbar from being installed in the first place?

8 Answers 8

UPDATE 2016-02-21: It seems that the old registry key below is not used anymore to disable sponsors. Since Java 7u65 and 8u11 (8u40 on Mac OS X) there is a supported way to disable sponsor offers directly through the Java Control Panel. In Windows:

Control Panel → Java → Advanced → Miscellaneous (scroll to bottom) → Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java

Since 7u55 (8u40 on Mac OS X) you can also disable sponsor offers through the command line running a Java installer with a special argument:

For those of you that still need to disable sponsors in a programmatic way, it seems that now it’s enough to add the following line to C:\ProgramData\Oracle\Java\java.settings.cfg (create a new file if it doesn’t exist).

Please note that this last method is undocumented and unsupported, just like the old one!

UPDATE 2016-02-21: The following one is the old method to disable sponsors, it only works for Java versions below 7u65. For newer Java versions see above. Digging a bit into the problem myself, I’ve found that there’s an hidden switch to disable sponsor offers in the auto-update installer.

Open the following keys into the Windows Registry Editor ( regedit.exe ):

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft (available only on Windows 64-bit)

and create in both of them a new String Value (type REG_SZ ) named SPONSORS of value DISABLE (both name and value must be uppercase).

Alternatively, copy and paste the following code into a text file called disable_java_sponsors.reg and double click on it to import these values in your Registry.

Please note that this switch not only disables the Ask.com toolbar installation and prompt, but disables all of the sponsors potentially bundled with the Auto-update setup/Online setup (Google toolbar, Yahoo toolbar, McAfee something, etc. )

Another way, without having to download and rename or create a new .REG file, is to copy and paste the following two lines into an elevated CMD prompt:

Edit 2014-02-02: With JavaRE 7u51, Ask toolbar now installs into a subfolder named “AskPartnerNetwork” instead of “Ask.com”. One could have suspicions about what the point of that is. Meanwhile, @Danilo Roascio’s registry values are still obeyed and works just as well as before.

This just highlights that the simple registry fix, is still the simplest and best solution. In case the Java installer changes, so that this registry value is ignored, the following script can still be used as a workaround – just make sure the Ask Toolbar path is updated.

The simplest way to prevent Ask Toolbar from being installed again I could think of, was to create the folder Ask Toolbar installs into and modify the permissions, so no one can write to it.

First, make sure that the Ask Toolbar has been removed. Then copy the following code to Notepad, save it as a .cmd file and run it in an elevated command prompt:

Please note: ICACLS is included in Windows Vista and later. You can download ICACLS for Windows XP/Server 2003 through Microsoft KB919240, or an updated version through KB943043 (but the latter must first be requested, after which you will receive a link by e-mail to download it). For this purpose, both versions should work equally well.

I have verified with the installer for Java 1.7 update 13, that the Ask Toolbar indeed does not install, even if I leave the checkbox checked.

A similar approach can most likely be used to block most other kinds of piggybacking crapware.

Edit #1

Windows Explorer quirk: Access denied

Windows Explorer behaves a little strange if you try to open the folder. Even though you still have read access to the folder, Windows Explorer will tell you that access is denied, even though only write access has been denied.

This doesn’t happen if you simply only have been assigned read access in the first place, but it seems to happen when you have been assigned read/write permission to the folder and then been denied write access.

The script has been updated to add a ‘read me’ text file and a script for removing the restriction again. Both are stored in the 32-bit program files folder.

Sure. I should clarify. For the most part, non-developers should not need or even need to be aware of the existence of Java – just like most Mac or iPhone users don’t need to know what Objective-C or Cocoa is.

Java is not used on the client very often now, but apparently there are some apps that do still use it, unfortunately.

BornAgainMac

macrumors 604
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #102

Snapjack

macrumors newbie
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #103

Robert.Walter

macrumors 68020
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #104

I feel sorry for all the folks who leave Java installed like they actually need it for something other than crapware bundling by oracle and offering hackers an easy to exploit RAT vector into their computer.

Do yourself a big favor and deinstall Java today.

jdawgnoonan

macrumors 6502
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #105

This is a good reason to only install Java if you actually need it. If you are only installing it because some web site that you are looking at says that you need it then my advise is that you don’t install it and move on. If you actually have something that you are doing that needs it then install it. I avoid installing any software, but especially software that pulls this crap, unless I have to have the software for a task. Most people don’t actually need this software anyway.

Developers need Java, normal users usually don’t. Make a good move for the security of your system and only install it if you need it.

Oracle is officially guilty of malicious activity on the Mac platform.

macrumors regular
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #106

I am actually one of those rare users who actually do need Java to be installed. It’s requited to run TWS, the trading platform of Interactive Brokers. Despite being written in Java, TWS is actually the best trading platform app I’ve used so far (they are generally all utterly horrible, the only question is what platform sucks the least).

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #107

pubwvj

macrumors 68000
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #108

AdonisSMU

macrumors 604
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #109

jweinraub

macrumors 6502
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #110

smetvid

macrumors 6502
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #111

People bashed the Flash player for years because of insecurity but Java has way more security holes. Adobe also never tried installing extra crap with the Flash player.

Flash had it faults of course. My point is that Java is worse in many cases and should be faced with the same scrutiny that Flash did. Only reason it isn’t is because non-developers didn’t exploit Java as much as they did with Flash with bloated horrible code plastered onto every page. Just like any programming language there is a right way to do things and a unholy violation slapped together by duck tape and chicken wire way of doing things. Guess which method was used by most non-developers. Java on the other hand tends to be used by mostly seasoned developers or at least forces developers to work a certain way. Not that it always helps. Any programming language can have bad code.

The issue I have with Java is that it has security holes and is used for a lot more sensitive personal and business information than Flash ever was. The kind of information people would actually want to steal. Not my scores and log in information for an on-line game.

edenwaith

macrumors 6502a
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #112

Exactly one of the things I don’t miss about Windows. At one point, my family’s PC had been so polluted by these add-on bars that IE had NINE of them. Blech.

The same goes for any other "value-added" software, whether it is by a PC or phone manufacturer.

absessive

macrumors newbie
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #113

I wish for Java and Oracle to die in a hole and go out of business. As a developer, I hate their IDE. Eclipse is the worst developer environment I have ever used, and Java is an inferior language compared to C# and Objective-C.

As a consumer, I hate Java/Oracle even more for their sneaky attempts to install malware on my machine, and their endless and sudden pop-ups asking me to update Java.

macrumors Sandy Bridge
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #114

I had to go through the trouble of immediately unistalling this crap from a couple PCs because of being too fast to uncheck sometimes.

I still cannot believe Oracle would do this.

They might be very angry at Google and Microsoft, but this is not the right way.

vpndev

macrumors 6502
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #115

Java required

It seems that Java is required in order to manage a Synology NAS.

That is unfortunate, as I would rather not have Java at all.

macrumors Sandy Bridge
  • Mar 6, 2015
  • #116

People bashed the Flash player for years because of insecurity but Java has way more security holes. Adobe also never tried installing extra crap with the Flash player.

Flash had it faults of course. My point is that Java is worse in many cases and should be faced with the same scrutiny that Flash did. Only reason it isn’t is because non-developers didn’t exploit Java as much as they did with Flash with bloated horrible code plastered onto every page. Just like any programming language there is a right way to do things and a unholy violation slapped together by duck tape and chicken wire way of doing things. Guess which method was used by most non-developers. Java on the other hand tends to be used by mostly seasoned developers or at least forces developers to work a certain way. Not that it always helps. Any programming language can have bad code.

The issue I have with Java is that it has security holes and is used for a lot more sensitive personal and business information than Flash ever was. The kind of information people would actually want to steal. Not my scores and log in information for an on-line game.

Even Flash installers have had this too (at least on the PC side). Many installers have had this for years and years (again at the very least on the PC side).

For certain things, have a relative who prints coupons and requires it for that. can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to uninstall the ask.com garbage off her Windows machine.

Oracle is a despicable company. Over in Windows world their online installer (the default one) has the Ask installer embedded in it (be sure and uncheck the install options for ask during the install and your OK), but the full offline Windows installer does not (you have to hunt a little, but not much, on Oracle’s site for it) – I always use that one to avoid this mess for Windows PC’s.

In my opinion, these two buggy, broken platforms, NEED to go.

I mean, come on! Java is ridiculously unstable and insecure. The runtime is found to have vulnerabilities ALL THE TIME. Not to mention that Yahoo! crap that they shove down your throat. Imagine the thousands of end lusers who download it to run some shit and then end up fucking up their computer. It is a huge pain in the ass to troubleshoot. Too many programs still require it. Part of this anger comes from the fact that I (accidentally) downloaded Java (because it was bundled with a command-line tool) and guess what? My homepage changed to Yahoo! Obviously, I removed the Yahoo shitware and Java. If only.

3 days later, I find my PC BSODing every 10-20 minutes. Why? Because this Java applet FUCKED WITH THE REGISTRY. It was some kind of command-line tool. Why the hell did they write it in Java? Why not write this in C# or C++?

And then there’s “Flash”. It makes the web horrible. Like Java, it’s insecure as hell. Honestly, the web devs who make stuff in flash need to migrate to HTML5. My Core 2 Quad machine w/GTX 950 stutters due to those FLASH ADs. I’m was using MS Edge, and the lack of uBlock and Flashblock has made me temporarily migrate to Firefox. Thank God HTML5 is gaining ground. Pages that use Flash, honestly, need to get the fuck off the internet.

Damn it, Oracle and Adobe! Why the hell do you continue to promote these obsolete platforms?

The horrifying persistence of annoying, privacy-invading, unwanted software.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

InstallMonetizer helps crapware makers get their stuff on your computer

Screenshot of InstallMonetizer.com.

For a few years now, I’ve been expecting to write an obituary for crapware. Or not an obit, exactly—I was hoping to dance on its grave. Crapware is the annoying software that worms into your computer without your knowledge. You can get it when you buy your PC—software companies pay PC makers to install the stuff on new machines—or when you download some ostensibly useful program from the Web. You might download Adobe’s Flash player, say, and only later discover that the installer also larded up your computer with a dubious “PC health check” program that tries to scare you into paying to “repair” your machine.

But ever since the summer of 2008, when Apple launched its App Store, the death of crapware has seemed imminent. The App Store promised to kill crapware by centralizing software distribution. Because it’s the only way to get apps on your phone, and because Apple prohibits crapware and reviews all the apps that get submitted to the store, you’ll never get unwanted programs when you install an app. There are lots of problems with this model—the App Store gives Apple too much control over the software market, letting it stifle competition and enforce prudishness. But one of the reasons the App Store has proved so popular is that it lets people try new software without having to worry that it will hurt their machines. That’s one reason why Android, Windows, Kindle, and the BlackBerry have all adopted similar centralized app stores. Many of these stores have more liberal review policies than Apple’s, but they all prohibit crapware. It seemed likely, then, that this scourge would soon be gone—if we all got our apps from app stores, and if someone was checking those apps to make sure they weren’t bundled with unwanted software, crapware would soon crap out.

But that’s not happening. Crapware has proved remarkably resilient, and now I fear it will stick around for years to come. That’s because device makers, cellular carriers, and some of the most prominent investors in Silicon Valley are keeping it alive. It’s also because Google and Microsoft, the only companies in a position to stop it, haven’t fought crapware with the passion it deserves. (Macs can get crapware through bundled downloads, too, but Apple doesn’t allow it to be preinstalled, and Apple’s centralized Mac App Store—which is becoming the favored way to distribute Mac programs—prohibits it.) And that gets to the main reason crapware lives on: There’s a lot of money in it. Indeed, the rise of app stores has perversely made crapware even more valuable than in the past. App stores are clogged with thousands of programs, so it’s harder than ever for software companies to get you to voluntarily download their stupid games, weather monitoring programs, and unnecessary security programs. That’s why they’re willing to pay a lot to get their stuff on your device without your permission—and that’s why crapware may never, ever die.

There are two main problems with crapware. First, it’s deceptive, and the underhandedness associated with preinstalled and secretly installed software makes people suspicious about computers—and that goes against the long-term interests of everyone in the tech industry. Second, crapware devotes system resources to stuff you don’t need. Sometimes this slows down your computer, sometimes it invades your privacy, and other times it’s just annoying, adding extra steps to your daily computing tasks.

–>What Version of Java Are You Using?

On a computer with multiple web browsers, be sure to check the Java version in every browser. I say this because multiple copies of Java can sometimes be installed with different browsers using different copies. Also, Java can be enabled in one browser and disabled in another.
Note: The portion of Java that runs programs is referred to as either the Java Run-time Environment (JRE) or the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

Method 1: Ask Java

This is my favorite – straight from the horse’s mouth (so to speak). The Java Run-time Environment is aware of its version and the company that authored it. So I wrote a very simple applet (the source code is on the About page) that gets this information from the JRE and displays it in a pink rectangle.

If Java is working, you will see a pink rectangle above with one line of text that says something like:

Java Version 1.8.0_25 from Oracle Corporation or
Java Version 1.7.0_67 from Oracle Corporation or
Java Version 1.6.0_45 from Sun Microsystems Inc. or
Java Version 1.6.0_33 from Apple Inc.

In part this is because the applet is unsigned. In the Bizarro world of Oracle, unsigned applets are treated as more dangerous than signed applets. This is backwards for two reasons. First, unsigned applets run in a restricted Java sandbox whereas signed applets are given unrestricted access to the system. Yes, the sandbox has been buggy and broken, but some security is better than none. Second, it shows a faith in the Certificate Authority system that is unwarranted.

The truth is that I dont give a shit myself. I'll uncheck and move along and if Java is percieved as a lesser product to that, then be it.

Worse, change.org is a highly political site – and the LAST thing you ever want to do is mix business and politics.

If you're a developer, just install the Oracle JDK instead of the JRE if you're on Windows. I don't believe it comes with any toolbar prompts of any kind, and it installs a JRE. It is a heftier download and install, though.

My concern is not for myself (because of the JDK install you mentioned) but more the image the platform I develop on. I want Java to be successful and professional. I feel like the inclusion of the toolbar damages the image of Java on the desktop.

Installing .NET doesn't do any such thing.

Installing JDK also freezes you at that patch level, which is not good if you were planning to keep the Java browser plugin enabled.

I'm nearly positive the toolbar comes with the JDK.

After finding the Ask toolbar on my wife's laptop, tracing it back to a Java update, and cleaning it up, I uninstalled Java. Her life has not changed.

Like the rest of you, I am a Java developer. Like (I bet) most of you, I use Java to write server or mobile software. It is just plain not necessary for most standard desktop users, and shit like this will only erode their install base further. Of course, distribution deals like this are pretty lucrative, and with Oracle's dwindling earnings, it's not likely to go away any time soon.

If you installed the security update that Oracle Corp released some two weeks ago to fix a zero-day vulnerability in Java, you must have noticed the patch installing something else that has nothing to do with fixing the flaw.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Not surprisingly, a few users were miffed. Sometimes called crapware by critics, software that is bundled with a new PC or other software packages without the express knowledge of the user has been the bane of users for decades.

However, according to reports from Networkworld.com, Oracle has given no indication it will end the practice.

At a conference call with Java User Groups, Donald Smith, head of Oracle’s OpenJDK team, said contractual obligations prevented him from commenting on the subject of bundling deals. He also did not say if Oracle would stop the annoying practice.

RELATED CONTENT

In the post, he talks about InstalMonetizer, a company that calls itself a “Windows-based software monetizations platform.” The company he said is funded by a $500,000 investment from top Silicon Valley investment firms indicating that there’s big money for such company’s out there.

He says, all too often it is hard for many software developers who have poured their money on developing their app to say no when firms like InstalMonetizer approach them with bundling deals.

It has been three months since 2018 had ended. For many, it has just flew by, but for us, PVS-Studio developers, it was quite an eventful year. We were working up a sweat, fearlessly competing for spreading the word about static analysis and were searching for errors in open source projects, written in C, C++, C#, and Java languages. In this article, we gathered the top 10 most interesting of them right for you!

What’s new in CUBA 7

Three years ago we announced the second publicly available major version of the framework. CUBA 6 was the game-changing version — the licensing was turned from proprietary to Apache 2.0. Those days we couldn’t even guess where it was going to bring the framework in long term. CUBA community started to grow exponentially, so we have learned a lot of possible (and sometimes impossible) ways of how developers use the framework. Now we are happy to announce CUBA 7, which, we hope, will make development more coherent and joyful for all community members from those just starting their journey in CUBA and Java to skilled enterprise developers and Java experts.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

How Kiwi test 1’000 Python projects

For Russian speaking posted translated version here.

This is how Alex Viscreanu’s talk on Moscow Python Conf++ named. Now it’s two weeks till before the conference, but of course, I’ve already heard what Alex will speak about. Find below some spoilers and talk preparing backstage: what kind of an open source Zoo developed in Kiwi, how it tests Python code and what’s the difference between The Zoo and for example mypy.

— Tell us a bit about Kiwi, yourself and what is your work within a company?

Kiwi.com is an online travel agency based in Czech Republic. We aim to make travelling as simple and accessible as possible. The company was founded in 2012 as Skypicker, and since then it has become one of the five biggest online sellers of airline tickets in Europe. It was renamed to Kiwi.com in 2016.

The special feature that we, at Kiwi.com, offer is the virtual interlining, which allows us to connect flights from companies that don’t usually cooperate together, and we are covering the possible connection issues caused by delayed flights.

Following in the Footsteps of Calculators: SpeedCrunch

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Here we are, continuing to explore the code of calculators! Today we are going to take a look at the project called SpeedCrunch, the second most popular free calculator.

Introduction

SpeedCrunch is a high-precision scientific calculator featuring a fast, keyboard-driven user interface. It is free and open-source software, licensed under the GPL and running on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

The source code is available on BitBucket. I was somewhat disappointed by the build documentation, which could be more detailed. It says that you need «Qt 5.2 or later» to build the project, but it actually required a few specific packages, which wasn’t easy to figure out from the CMake log. By the way, it is considered a good practice nowadays to include a Dockerfile into the project to make it easier for the user to set up the development environment.

Checking FreeRDP with PVS-Studio

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Zotero hacks: unlimited synced storage and its smooth use with rmarkdown

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Bibliographic manager is a life saver in everyday academic life. I suffer almost physical pain just thinking about colleagues who for some reason never started using one — all those excel spreadsheets with favorite citations, messy folders with PDFs, constant hours lost for the joy-killing task of manual reference list formatting. Once you start using a reference manager this all becomes a happily forgotten nightmare.

Following in the Footsteps of Calculators: Qalculate

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Another way to write cross-platform apps: Neutralinojs internals and comparison with Electron and NW.js

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

I am Shalitha Suranga from Sri Lanka. I started Neutralinojs project with other two members as our research project at university.

Cross-platform application development is extremely useful among software development organizations because a large end-user audience can be targeted. Earlier there were several approaches, such as writing multiple codebases per each platform, writing a single codebase using conditionals for platform selection, or using a programming language which has a cross-platform virtual machine at run-time. There were drawbacks of each like complexity of design, limited low-level accessibility and slow learning rate. Cross-platform application development with web technologies came [1] after. Electron and NW.js are most popular frameworks which allow developers to make cross-platform applications using Javascript. Basically, these popular frameworks combine embedded chromium browser and node run-time [2], [3].

These frameworks are being used to create numerous cross-platform applications. Whereas the community pointed out several unseen drawbacks of these frameworks. Large bundled application size, high memory consumption and long development workflow are the key things which were criticized through internet forums and websites [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. Table 1.1 shows the advantages and disadvantages of Electron/NW.js.

Table 1.1: Advantages and Disadvantages of Electron/NW,js

Oracle released Java 8 update 40 last week. The security baseline remained at 8u31, meaning there were no security fixes in this out-of-band update. While the release notes for this version indicate a few bug fixes, the most noticeable change comes for OS X users who now receive the Ask toolbar bundled with the Java installer.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Oracle’s greed is present in the updated Java install instructions, with this notice:

Oracle has partnered with companies that offer various products. The installer may present you with the option to install these programs when you install Java. After ensuring the desired programs are selected, click the Next button to continue the installation.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Proceeding through the Java install like normal, the second screen prompts to install the Search App by Ask. This wants to install a toolbar in Safari for Ask’s mediocre search engine as well as links to Facebook, Google Maps, Amazon, eBay, the weather, and other third-party sites. You can uncheck the box ‘Set Ask.com as my browser homepage’, which is checked by default and will be installed if you just click ‘Next’ through the update or install.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

The summary of the installation will confirm if you installed just Java or the Ask extension(s) as well.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

Your default browser will launch after completing the install to take you to the verify Java version plugin page. If your default browser is Safari or the next time you launch Safari, you will see a prompt “Are you sure you want to install the extension “Search App by Ask build 51553634″?” Here you can choose ‘Install’ or ‘Don’t Install’. Thankfully Safari has your back and gives you another chance to escape the bloatware.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

If you chose ‘Install’ but wish to reverse your decision, you can go to the Safari menu and choose ‘Preferences…’. Switch to the Extensions tab and find the Search App by Ask extension. You can choose to uncheck the box so that the extension is no longer enabled or you can use the ‘Uninstall’ button to remove the extension.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

A setting that Java on Windows has had for a while allows you to avoid these sorts of bundled junkware in the future. By going to System Preferences after installing Java 8u40 and newer version, you can launch the Java Control Panel. Under the Advanced tab and at the very bottom, there is a new option. ‘Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java’. Unfortunately, you have to install Java 8u40 (and you can opt out of installing Ask) before you have this option to prevent future bloatware.

Lenovo is about to kill off a small but troublesome source of its revenue: crapware. Some call it adware, some bloatware, others malware, but whatever the correct nomenclature, the PC maker doesn’t want anything more to do with it after the debacle over Superfish, the “visual advertising” tech that posed a real security threat to millions of Lenovo PC users. It can certainly afford to get rid of it too.

When Lenovo closed the Superfish deal in summer of last year to pre-install the encryption-bypassing tool in consumer laptops, a decision it now admits was a mistake, it probably had no idea how such a seemingly insignificant agreement would backfire. According to sources with knowledge of the deal, Lenovo certainly made less than $500,000 from Superfish. Forbes believes the deal was only worth between $200,000 and $250,000, a paltry sum given the massive earnings at the Chinese giant and the potential legal and PR costs the company has and will incur throughout the Superfish aftermath; it’s already being sued by one angry customer and it’ll have some cleaning up to do after hacker crew Lizard Squad attacked Lenovo.com. Neither Lenovo nor Superfish would comment on the value of their partnership.

As part of the PR push to placate angry customers and privacy activists, in a statement issued today Lenovo said the last week had reinforced “the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities”. “With this in mind, we will significantly reduce preloaded applications. Our goal is clear: to become the leader in providing cleaner, safer PCs.

“We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products, our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications.”

“This should eliminate what our industry calls ‘adware’ and ‘bloatware’.” Lenovo also promised be transparent about what software is preloaded onto its PCs to clearly explain what each application does.

Lenovo can’t eliminate the crapware problem on its own, however. It can’t even solve the problem for its own customers. That’s because the industry is a complex one, with myriad players along the advertising and download chain. It’s a market powered by some of the technology industry’s biggest businesses, where “reputable” companies like Oracle continue to push out ads for crapware via their installations for often-essential software like Java. This is done via companies like Perion and Sterkly, who promise to make companies’ software downloads even more profitable by chucking ads on them, regardless of whether users actually want them. And companies are making a mint out of these irksome practices.

Google and Yahoo search pages are guilty of spreading much of this junk software too, though given they rely on advertising for most of their revenue that’s little surprise. Howtogeek.com put out a startling image this week of a Yahoo search for a media player, which sprayed the same ad for apparent crapware across the screen:

Crapware on Yahoo ads – Howtogeek.com

The same site noted that bloatware was increasingly bundled with software appearing on Apple Mac OS X, which used to be almost entirely free of the crapware. And the CNET-sponsored Download.com was deemed responsible for hosting many of the downloads that bundled this money-grabbing, nonsense kit. Disconcertingly, in many cases the user only has the option of cancelling the download or accepting something on their machines they never wanted.

When the crapware is dangerous, like the web-interception technology provided by Komodia to Superfish, the problem becomes even more severe. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reported earlier this week that the poorly-protected Komodia encryption certificates, known as SSL certificates, might have already been abused by hackers who’d picked up on the furore to spy on people’s web sessions. Komodia’s weak and exploitable certificates were found all over the web. Another company, Comodo, was pushing out similarly dangerous kit called Privdog before fixing the issue. And Howtogeek also noted adware like Wajam, Geniusbox and Content Explorer also install certificates on people’s PCs to intercept traffic.

Put simply, there are hundreds of deals being made every week between unknown players, like Superfish, Perion and Sterkly, and industry giants like those named above that end in bloatware being thrust on people’s PCs. The software does nothing ostensibly useful for users and can put their privacy at risk.

Whilst anti-virus companies are increasingly blacklisting aggressive ads for bloatware and the secretive networks behind them, the scourge that is crapware won’t disappear until big industry companies follow Lenovo’s lead and kill crapware for good.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

It has long been known that installing Java meant having to keep an eye out for that pesky adware Ask Toolbar, which would be selected by default and, unless you explicitly made it known you didn’t want it, would appear to muck up your browser — assuming you were using Windows. Nothing about that has changed. What has changed is who this toolbar now affects: Mac users in addition to Windows users. Oracle has begun bundling Java for Mac with the Ask Toolbar.

The change comes with the latest version of Java for Mac (Java 8 Update 40), which features the Ask Toolbar software as a selected-by-default installation option. If someone clicks through the installation process without paying much attention, they’ll find a new unwanted guest on their browser the next time they fire it up.

Java on os x is bundling crapware here’s how to make it stop

In addition to installing the toolbar, Ask will also change the New Tab page to its own search bar, as well. Anyone who has poked around Ask search knows that it is crapware full of poor search result sprinkled thoroughly with hard-to-identify advertisements, by all appearances existing only to bring in revenue.

Of course, if you install the software it isn’t the end of the world — you’ll just need to uninstall it, which is not difficult for someone who knows what they’re doing (the software also includes instructions on uninstalling).

Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Registry keys to prevent Java installs from adding sponsors (Ask/Google/Yahoo Toolbar, McAfee virus, etc) via: Super User

Posted by jpluimers on 2014/06/02

One of the reasons I quit Java development a while ago is that for years, each and every Java client update on Windows wants to install “add-ons” like Ask/Google/Yahoo toolbars, McAfee viruses, etc.

Many people have complained about it, just to name a few and show an on-line petition against it:

There are many cumbersome ways around it:

  • Manually download the right version of the silent offline installer, then run it. . . . Then don’t install it (a few friends were so fed up that they did this).
  • Internet Explorer only: Disable third party browser extensions. But then you loose all other extensions as well.

Though suited for corporate installs, all of those are impractical when your friends keep calling “hey, how do I get rid of these toolbars” and you cannot control their complete install process.

Super User user Danilo Roascio made my day when wanting to get rid of that behaviour.

His registry way to prevent those installs is way easier!

It not only disables the installs of any sponsored add-on, the Java update does not even show the checkbox any more (so the install process is shorter).