Java 8 Update 65 Redux – The Good, the Bad and the Failings
With the release of Java 8 Update 65, Oracle has returned to using an application to install Java. 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 65 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:
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 because this install application’s behavior has changed very recently. Oracle’s Java 8 Update 65 application has the following behavior as of November 13th, 2015:
This application will prompt for admin privileges before fully launching.
Once you provide admin authentication, the application launches.
You will be prompted to set Yahoo.com as your browser homepage, with the choice to do so checked off by default.
It will confirm this choice.
It will then tell you how many devices run Java while it installs.
Once complete, it’ll tell you what it’s installed.
The fascinating part is that Safari’s homepage doesn’t actually change to be Yahoo and there is not a new Safari extension installed. This may be because of recent changes in Safari 9.x, which tightened the requirements for installing Safari extensions.
It also doesn’t appear that Safari is unique in this regard, as the installer will check for the default browser and try to change the home page and install toolbars there as well. In my testing, this had the following results:
If Safari is your default browser, the Java install application offers to install a toolbar and set new homepage in Safari. It doesn’t set Safari’s homepage and does not install a Safari extension.
If Firefox is your default browser, the Java install application offers to install a toolbar and set new homepage in Safari. The Java 8 install application then quits midway through the installation process.
If Google Chrome is your default browser, the Java install application offers to install toolbar and set new homepage in Safari and Chrome.
It doesn’t set Chrome’s homepage, but it does re-set Safari’s homepage to Yahoo (while simultaneously failing to install toolbars in either.)
Meanwhile, Chrome is unable to run the Java browser plug-in.
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 Yahoo-driven annoyances, I recommend using the JavaAppletPlugin installer package whenever possible.