Home > Java, Mac administration, Mac OS X > MacJREInstaller and Oracle’s Java install application

MacJREInstaller and Oracle’s Java install application

Part of Oracle’s new install application for Java is a binary named MacJREInstaller. This application appears to be what installs Java and governs whether or not the Ask.com toolbar gets deployed.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 4.00.10 PM

For context, MacJREInstaller appears to be the helper tool referenced when the Java install application prompts for admin privileges.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.13 PM

Based on observation, when running the Java install application, MacJREInstaller appears to run the following tasks:

1. Checks to see if it can contact the internet

2. If it can contact the internet, checks back with Oracle to see what country it’s in. Oracle apparently is selective about which nations it wants to have the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar installed (thanks to a Canadian colleague’s testing, it appears Canada is not one of the nations.)

3. If it determines the Mac in question is in a country where Oracle wants to deploy the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar, a Sponsors.framework.tar file is downloaded to the Mac and uncompressed into /Users/username/Library/Application Support.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 5.04.28 PM

4. Determines which web browser is set as the Mac’s default web browser.

5. Displays the choice for whether or not to install the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar.

Note: By default, the option to install the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar is selected. The person running the install application must uncheck the appropriate checkbox or checkboxes to opt out.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.38 PM

6. Depending on whether the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar have been chosen for installation, the following actions take place:

If installation of the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar is selected:

A. The Ask.com browser settings and toolbar for the Mac’s default web browser are installed using a tool called APNSetup, which is included in the downloaded Sponsors.framework.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 4.40.28 PM

B. The JavaAppletPlugin installer package stored within the Java install application is installed.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 4.03.38 PM

C. MacJREInstaller checks back with Oracle again to see what country the Mac in question is in.

If installation of the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar is not selected:

A. The JavaAppletPlugin installer package stored within the Java install application is installed.

B. MacJREInstaller checks back with Oracle again to see what country the Mac in question is in.

Note: Even if the installation of the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar is not selected, the Sponsors.framework remains resident on the machine, in /Users/username/Library/Application Support.

7. Once the install process finishes, MacJREInstaller then exits.

For more details, see below the jump.

As part of my research, I’ve run MacJREInstaller from the command line and captured the output from running MacJREInstaller in the following scenarios:

A. Output from MacJREInstaller when installation of the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar is selected.

B. Output from MacJREInstaller when installation of the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar is not selected.

I’ve also run MacJREInstaller from the command line when the Mac is at the loginwindow, where nobody is logged into the machine. MacJREInstaller will crash in this instance.

However, Oracle apparently anticipated that MacJREInstaller may need to be run on a logged-out Mac, as they added a –silent function flag to MacJREInstaller. To invoke this installation method, run the following command with root privileges:

/path/to/Java_install_application.app/Contents/MacOS/MacJREInstaller --silent

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 5.01.31 PM

This installation mode does not attempt to download the Sponsors.framework.tar file and does not install the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar. Instead, it performs the following functions:

A. Checks to see if it can contact the internet

B. Sets itself to perform a silent installation

C. The JavaAppletPlugin installer package stored within the Java install application is installed.

D. MacJREInstaller checks back with Oracle to see what country the Mac in question is in.

In the event that MacJREInstaller can’t contact the internet or Oracle’s site, MacJREInstaller will install Java using the following process:

A. Checks to see if it can contact the internet. Check fails

B. Does not display the choice for whether or not to install the Ask.com browser settings and toolbar

C. The JavaAppletPlugin installer package stored within the Java install application is installed.

Based on the behavior I’ve seen, MacJREInstaller is Oracle’s tool for handling the installation of Java on the Mac although the JavaAppletPlugin installer package stored within the Java install application is what’s actually installing the Java browser plug-ins. However, MacJREInstaller is pretty much a blackbox to me and does not include documentation saying what it’s doing or how it works. Even MacJREInstaller‘s –silent function does not appear to be documented, it was instead discovered by several Mac admins in the ##osx-server IRC room while analyzing the MacJREInstaller binary.

Without documentation of what MacJREInstaller‘s functions are, combined with the behavior I have observed when running the tool, I plan to stick with pulling out the JavaAppletPlugin installer package stored within the Java install application and running that separately to install the Java browser plug-ins.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 4.03.38 PM

  1. March 7, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Reblogged this on /home/kOoLiNuS.

  2. David
    March 7, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Looks like South Africa is on the Oracle unwanted country list.

  3. cashxx
    March 10, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    You can supposedly to this as well from CLI:

    open –args SPONSORS=0

  4. cashxx
    March 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    open path to the downloaded installer –args SPONSORS=0

  5. Reactor105
    November 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you for your analysis. It was very helpful.

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