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Java plugin users on Mountain Lion nudged firmly toward Oracle

We made mention of this last Tuesday night when the relevant software update hit, but apparently that level of attention wasn't adequate: scores of stories across the tech and conventional media are now trumpeting the fact that Apple has removed its homegrown browser plugin for Java from OS X with the Java 2012-006 1.0 update, and is encouraging users who need Java in web browsers to download the Oracle runtime directly.

This is a notable change, but not surprising: Apple deprecated its own Java exactly two years ago ("deprecated" = developer jargon meaning "We don't plan to work on this any more, and you should not count on it being around for all that much longer"). Oracle is now offering a v7 OS X build [link corrected] that's comparable with the Java packages for other operating systems.

Of course, just because it's Oracle doesn't mean it's safe; a recent zero-day exploit in Java targeted the v7 runtime exclusively, which (at the time) few Mac users were running as Apple's version hadn't advanced past v6. That's bound to change pretty quickly now that the browser plugin switch has been thrown, although it's also going to make users who don't need Java somewhat more secure.

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