Home > Java, Mac administration > Oracle’s Java 8 Update 40 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Oracle’s Java 8 Update 40 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

For the past few major releases, Oracle has used a standard installer package to install Java 7 and Java 8. With the release of Java 8 Update 40 though, Oracle changed how Java 8 for Macs is installed. Oracle has now switched to using an application to install Java.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.51.52 PM

This switch away from using installer packages is a problem for Mac admins who need to deploy Oracle’s Java 8 in their own environment. However, after doing some research, it looks like it is still possible to deploy Oracle’s Java 8 Update 40 using a standard installer package. For more details, see below the jump.

While the Oracle install application is not a standard installer package, it appears that Oracle had stored an installer package for Java 8 within the install application at the following location:


Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 4.03.38 PM

Once the JavaAppletPlugin installer package is copied out of the install application, it can be deployed like previous Java updates’ installer packages.

Now that the good news is covered, let’s talk about the not-good news. Oracle’s Java 8 Update 40 application has the following behavior:

The install application will prompt for admin privileges before fully launching.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.13 PM

Once you provide admin authentication, the application launches.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.25 PM

You will be prompted to set Ask.com as your browser homepage, with the choice to do so checked off by default. If left checked, Safari’s homepage will be set with a search.ask.com URL and a Safari extension will be used to install an Ask.com toolbar.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.38 PM

The install application will then tell you how many devices run Java while it installs.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.46 PM

Once complete, it’ll tell you what it’s installed.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.53 PM

If you didn’t change the option of setting Ask.com as your browser homepage, it’ll then ask you to install the Ask.com toolbar as a Safari extension.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.53.00 PM

If you then choose to install the Ask.com toolbar, Safari will look like this.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.50.11 PM

It also doesn’t appear that Safari is unique in this regard, as the installer will check for the default browser. If Firefox is your default browser, Firefox’s homepage will be set with a search.ask.com URL and the user is prompted to install a Firefox extension.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.58.51 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 7.59.37 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.20.31 PM

If Google Chrome is set as your default browser, Chrome’s homepage will be set with a search.ask.com URL and the user is prompted to install a Chrome extension.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.07.15 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.07.33 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.07.56 PM

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.16.56 PM

Circling back to the JavaAppletPlugin installer package mentioned earlier in the article, it appears that this installer does not install any toolbars or reset the homepage setting for the default browser. To avoid having to deal with Ask.com-driven annoyances, I recommend using the JavaAppletPlugin installer package whenever possible.

Categories: Java, Mac administration
  1. Jeremy Kemp (@macphile)
    March 4, 2015 at 7:03 am

    These three files are all touched when you click the Java Advanced preference button to suppress sponsored software installs:
    ~/Library/Application\ Support/JREInstaller/ThirdParty.plist
    ~/Library/Application\ Support/Oracle/Java/Deployment/deployment.properties

  2. Peter-Erik
    March 4, 2015 at 8:50 am

    I install the Original Java 8 installer on VM and again with the JavaAppletPlugin.pkg installer but both no request for the ask toolbar.

  3. March 4, 2015 at 9:31 am

    I didn’t get the ask toolbar, so either Oracle has changed the installer-app, or there are different versions out there. Downloaded from http://java.com/en/download/manual.jsp at home (Oslo), and ran the app. Inside the app is the pkg as you mention, which I probably will use to deploy at work.

  4. March 4, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    About the Ask “Sponsorship” behaviour – relevant to @dagta’s observations:

    One step of the MacJREInstaller binary is that it does a HEAD on http://rps-svcs.sun.com/services/countrylookup. In Canada (and I’m sure Norway), there is no sponsorship offer “available.”

    Verify for yourself by running the following and looking at the “Country” response header:

    curl http://rps-svcs.sun.com/services/countrylookup -I

  5. cashxx
    March 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Oh thats why, they just want to trick you into installing the Ask toolbar junk!

  6. cashxx
    March 4, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Here all start complaining!!! http://bugreport.java.com/bugreport/main.jsp At the bottom under “Report an Issue” from the drop down select “Comments and/or Suggestions” and write away! If thats not enough for you send the CEO’s an email as well!! mark.hurd@oracle.com and safra.catz@oracle.com they seem to hold a joint CEO positions.

  7. Caleb
    March 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I had dug into the package contents, saw the .pkg and wondered if that would work. Stumbled across this article, tried it, and it worked. So stoked right now. Saved my whole company a ton of hassle.Thank you!

  8. Bob Reed
    March 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    One question Rich…does installing the JavaAppletPlugin.pkg really install all of the components of the JRE (minus the adware stuff)???

  9. March 6, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    It gets uglier too!

    Java 8 Update 40 Installer App Fun

  10. Margaret Ross
    April 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I keep getting flashing notes in my task bar urging me to update Java (to Java 8 Update 40), and I jump through all the hoops, including clicking “install,” but I get the same response every time: a message stating that the update can’t be installed. Fine and dandy. Then Oracle should stop pestering me with update notices or tell me why the install procedure isn’t working!

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