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I don't know what best to give as title to this so pardon me if it sounds weird.

I saw this question asked on IT Security and another site asking people to disable Java from their system or browser because it's vulnerable.

As a lover of Java, though currently doing C#, I would love to still do more Java in future, but this news is giving a bad name to the good old Java.

Wouldn't this drive developers like me away from Java? Wouldn't it spell a bad name for Java among developers and prospective clients?

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If your developing java applets then yes –  jozefg Jan 13 '13 at 18:52
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This is Java Applets only, a tiny fraction of Java development, and still the JVM etc. would be useful. –  Matsemann Jan 13 '13 at 20:14
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2 Answers

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Does this tarnish some of Java's luster? Absolutely, but this issue is about Java's use on the client side as an applet. Java's far more prevalent use is in the enterprise, creating server side applications where this vulnerability is irrelevant.

In short, no, this will not drive good developers away from the use of Java. As a good developer, you should analyze the problem and choose an appropriate technology based on situation.

A non-technical client who has heard of this "incident" of course may be concerned, but it is your job to inform them of what is the right answer to their problem. After all, they came to you for your expertise.

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+1 and I'll add a sigh - the mainstream tech media is so utterly rubbish about performing basic research on these things - ARRGGHHH! –  Martijn Verburg Jan 13 '13 at 19:13
    
The article says "Since this threat is Java-based, it will only affect systems that have Java installed. Most platforms do not come with Java, but if you have installed it and do not need or regularly use it, you might consider removing it from your system. While Java is convenient for legitimate developers, its conveniences also help malware developers spread their harmful practices to multiple platforms". I see this as a swipe at Java. Can we blame this on Oracle? –  tunmise fasipe Jan 13 '13 at 21:24
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@tunmisefasipe I don't see it as a swipe at Java; you could replace Java with literally any other piece of software and your bolded advice would apply equally. If you don't need it, don't install it. –  Michael Edenfield Jan 13 '13 at 22:16
    
@tunmisefasipe: if you go with this, you should uninstall Silverlight and (in many cases) .NET. Regular home users hardly need any of those technologies. Doesn't change the fact that both of them have a place where they excel at. –  Hubert Kario Jan 14 '13 at 8:55
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+1 for a great answer. And I'd just like to enforce what's already being said in the comments: Yes Java has some vulnerabilities, but not more so than other similar technologies (like Flash, ActiveX, even JavaScript can be used to do some nasty things). This is an issue for clients of Java Applets (and hence for Applet developers, indirectly). Other than that, you can use Java on the server side, develop in it for that purpose, and be tranquil about it. –  Shivan Dragon Jan 14 '13 at 10:19
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It is only browser plugins that suffer from the security flaw, since desktop apps generally aren't required to be perfectly sandboxed. That said, there is no doubt that the name of Java will take a reputation hit.

While developers should be able to differentiate, I don't think it is humanly possible to be completely objective, at least not for the vast majority of people. So while there is no great aversion to Java, neither is there a lot of hype. Although it used to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, that is certainly not the case any more, and while a lot of that decay may be ascribed to the age of the news, Oracle takeover and general neglect certainly have their share of the blame.

Still, more serious to the future of Java is the mobile phone market -- Java doesn't look like the cross-platform solution that will prevail.

As for the job market, although I think Java will take a dive, it is not like it will die any time soon -- if nothing else there is plenty legacy code to keep a Java programmer occupied. If it is what you want you can most likely keep doing Java for the rest of your life, but depending on future developments you could find yourself to be the equivalent of present day COBOL programmers in 40 years.

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While Java jobs may decline (it's so popular that they can hardly increase much), that won't have anything to do with this or any other security vulnerability. –  Michael Borgwardt Jan 13 '13 at 19:33
    
@MichaelBorgwardt Not short term, and the impact of the individual story isn't big. It is hard to tell exactly how big the impact is, but to suggest that it is not there, that Java will not get a single project less because of this, that is as likely as throwing a stone in the water that causes no ripples. –  eBusiness Jan 13 '13 at 20:28
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No, it is in fact 100% likely. There have been dozens of vulnerabilities like this, for years. In Java as well as every single other high profile technology. –  Michael Borgwardt Jan 13 '13 at 23:44
    
"I don't think it is humanly possible to be completely objective." - heh, I see what you mean. –  akled Jan 14 '13 at 9:27
    
@MichaelBorgwardt Have you got proof that other technologies haven't lost use because of such issues and related media coverage? –  eBusiness Jan 14 '13 at 15:13
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