Java plugin will cease to exist by September, Oracle says

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Oracle has announced it will phase out the Java browser plugin, as browser vendors stop supporting Java applications.

The company said it will stop distributing the plugin with the next release of its Java Development Kit, JDK 9, in September 2016, but hasn't revealed exactly when support will stop completely for existing applications built upon the technology.

"Supporting Java in browsers is only possible for as long as browser vendors are committed to supporting standards based plugins," Oracle said.

"By late 2015, many browser vendors had either removed or announced timelines for the removal of standards based plugin support, while some are introducing proprietary browser-specific extension APIs. Consequently, Oracle is planning to deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9."

He recommended that developers still wanting to distribute their Java-based apps should consider using the plug-in free Java Web Start technology instead.

Security expert Graham Cluley explained that the decision is a responsible one, as popularity wanes for the technology in light of security breaches exploiting the plugin in the past.

"For 20 years people have been running Java in their browsers. And for much of that time, malicious hackers have been exploiting vulnerabilities in the plugin to infect computers," he said.

"Although the number of outbreaks caused by zero-day vulnerabilities found in the Java plugin has reduced in recent years, many users have found it hard to muster move love for the technology."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.