Oracle to phase out much-maligned Java browser plugin

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Oracle will soon wind down support for the Java browser plugin, reflecting an evolution in Internet standards and ever-mounting concerns about Web security.

The plugin will be deprecated as of Java Development Kit 9, and ultimately removed from both the JDK and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) in a future Java SE release, Oracle said in a blog post. The company encouraged developers to start looking for alternatives, including Java Web Start.

The plugin version of Java was once one of the most common vectors for security exploits, particularly since it could be counted on as a way of attacking multiple platforms. That prompted Apple to remove it as an OS X default several years ago, and since then standalone browsers like Chrome and Firefox have started disabling it.

Indeed the Web industry as a whole has been moving away from browser plugins, since once-common ones like Flash and Java have been made redundant. Flash video, for instance, has been supplanted by HTML5, which any modern desktop or mobile browser can run.

Oracle's decision is most likely to cause trouble only for organizations using older software and/or custom applets.