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Confused understanding of Java


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#1
John Bull

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Not sure this is the right box, but could not find a better. After all, Java is a browser facility.
Thought I would try Geeks TG first as a best shot.

I have read all about Java on the web and end up totally confused as to what it is and do I need it or not. I have an old version of Java installed and Firefox has kindly disabled it and told me to update. NoScript does not seem to like Java and s far as I can see has blocked it. Firefox is not too enthusiastic with a blocking box available and Sandboxie is no fan either.

In fact Java does not appear to have many bed pals around. The picture is not good for having it. I do not seem to miss it at all in my browsing, only an odd site pops up infrequently saying my Java is not enabled - I just skip it and loose no sleep.

Add Java script to Java and my brain explodes in total confusion. As far as I know from making web tests, I do have Java script enabled - Oh goody, goody, I am so pleased.

Can any knowledgeable Geek please explain and unravel this Java/Java script puzzle for me, after which I can decide if I need them or not. I think Java script is necessary, but Java appears to be discriminated against by many major and minor programs and my surfing experience does not show up any serious disability by not having it. The very mention of Java and it`s variations seem to have a "bad name" amongst the security minded programs

Many thanks

Edited by John Bull, 15 September 2012 - 02:52 PM.

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#2
Kountzer0

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I can take a stab at it.

Java is a class based (object oriented, like C++) programming language. The code is designed to resemble C-code to make the syntax easier for programmers to learn. it was designed to allow programmers to write and test a program once, and be done. The code does not need to be compiled for each platform, OS or anything so long as the computer that runs the code is Java enabled. It does this by executing the code in a "Java Virtual Machine" on the host computer. That way only the Virtual Machine enviornment needs porting to so many varied operating systems, hardware configuratuions etc. and we can be assured that all the Java programs will run. On its own it is the most popular programming language in use.

JavaScript (JS) is another implementation, but it is a classless, scripting language as opposed to Java being class based. It's technical, but the difference is significant in that JS uses prototypes instead of classes to support object oriented programming. Scripting basicly means that execution code can be scripted to automate certain tasks, which can make your web browser (for instance) execute several programs without requireing your input. In this case it means your computer can execute programs or browser functions without your consent, knowledge or interference if JS is enabled.

Java and JS are very cool because it can make your computing experience like web pages very dynamic, exciting, easy to use and interactive (think online games as an example).

Just like Active X, Java and JS can be abused and cause your computer to run malicious code instead of cool content. There is always a risk when executing code, so your security software will warn you. What I do is keep Java up to date, and adjust my settings so that I am prompted before my computer executes any code - that way I can excercise control and awareness as well as enjoy the content available through Java.

Long winded but i hope it helps.

KountZer0

Edited by Kountzer0, 24 September 2012 - 01:57 PM.

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#3
sari

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Java isn't necessary, and in fact, I know many security experts that don't have it enabled at all. As Kountzer0 said, Javascript is used to make certain things operate on websites. While both can be exploited, Java can be disabled without really changing your browser experience, as you noticed, but if you disabled all Javascript, many websites wouldn't work correctly, this one included. While they both have Java in the name, they're not co-dependent.

How to disable Java in your web browser - some additional information for you.

NoScript will allow you to customize what sites are allowed to run Javascript, so only trusted sites will do so. It just provides some extra protection, so you can have a site like G2G run the necessary scripts, yet block those on less trustworthy sites.
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#4
John Bull

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Java isn't necessary, and in fact, I know many security experts that don't have it enabled at all. As Kountzer0 said, Javascript is used to make certain things operate on websites. While both can be exploited, Java can be disabled without really changing your browser experience, as you noticed, but if you disabled all Javascript, many websites wouldn't work correctly, this one included. While they both have Java in the name, they're not co-dependent.

How to disable Java in your web browser - some additional information for you.

NoScript will allow you to customize what sites are allowed to run Javascript, so only trusted sites will do so. It just provides some extra protection, so you can have a site like G2G run the necessary scripts, yet block those on less trustworthy sites.


Thank so much for your explanation Sari, it backs up what I have read on the web and my own feelings. Namely that the use of Java is outdated as many sites no longer use it today. The number of sites that I cannot enter because my Java is not enabled (Firefox has disabled my Java because it is out of date and needs updating) are so few that it is insignificant.

I do have NoScript and ABP.

Conclusion so far = Java is not necessary. I feel that my OP has been solved to my satisfaction and thank you all.
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