November 22, 2010

Larry Ellison Prostitutes Java?

I just saw a tweet from a character called Zed Shaw. Zed is a colorful guy, and a man of determined opinions. If he thinks something is wrong he will say so, most likely dropping f-bombs freely in the process.


His first tweet was rapidly followed by another.


Thinking about it, I cannot remember installing any other language and have it dick around with the settings on some other application.

I thought possibly Zed had caught the toolbar from somewhere else (I came within an inch of simply throwing WinAmp away when it intruded on my browser's search facilities in a similar way), but sure enough there's a (sadly undated) article at java.com entitled How do I unistall the Yahoo! toolbar from Firefox?, a clear enough indication to me that Java is likely responsible for Zed's woes.The FAQ explains about not just the Yahoo! toolbar but also the Bing and Google toolbars, but it appears that only the first two are installed by Java.

I suppose I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this behavior is new since the Sun empire was assimilated into the hive-mind by the Oracle collective. The fact that you can deselect the install options is neither here nor there. The real question is, what's the strategy behind this change? I can hardly believe that any revenues this hare-brained scheme might bring in are of the slightest significance to the world's second largest software company. But why would the company that effectively owns Java (in so far as anyone can own a language) deliberately try to discredit it in this way?

We can only speculate. Let's make it interesting ...

3 comments:

Gregor M├╝llegger said...

I think the installation(option) of the Yahoo! Toolbar is quite a long time already in the Java installer.

I might be wrong but I think I freaked already out about this before Oracle acquired Sun.

However I think there is an opt-out checkbox somewhere in the Windows-installer (which doesn't make the fact better that the Java Runtime Environment is indeed an adware through this politic).

Steve said...

@Gregor: Thanks for the information. Perhaps since Oracle are a profitable corporation they can finally remove this blight on the language. I wonder why I never noticed this with the Sun installers?

Brett said...

It's been around since at least 2008: http://stuffthathappens.com/blog/2008/07/21/java-6-plus-yahoo-toolbar/

The real question is whether it is still opt-out or not (on a Mac so can't check).

I'm sure Sun was making something out of this deal financially. And having the world so hooked on the language means they don't have to worry about any blow-back that will impact the language just over a toolbar.