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ZDNet gives Java a negative review

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cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000001048,39419834-6,00.htm

They bring up good points. Sun's marketing department seems to be at direct odds with the desires of end-users.

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kirillcool
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Joined: 2004-11-17

Dmitri,

Is that an average over a year, or was that for the month when Brazilian government has effectively forced all online tax submitters to download JRE in order to use their online application?

Thanks
Kirill

trembovetski
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Joined: 2003-12-31

Looking at the JavaOne slide from the Desktop session it seems that average would be around 25 mils per month (increasing steadily), plus about 40 mils of auto updates on average.

From the same slides:
Java market penetration on worldwide internet connected PCs is around 95%
and increasing (according to Omniture Source Catalyst, whatever that is). Unfortunately no data on particular releases on the slide.

Dmitri

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

Very encouraging numbers! Thanks Dmitri :)

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

> According to our stats, LOTS of people actually do
> follow those links (like
> openoffice), and do install toolbars.

Dmitri,

How many people download the JRE installer (per some time period)?
Of those, how many start the installation?
Of those, how many complete the installation?
Of those, how many choose to install the toolbar or OpenOffice?

It would be nice to hear some concrete figures. If Sun is missing one of the above data points it might be worth investigating further. I plan on collecting the aforementioned data for my own application as I'm curious how many people abort the installation once they find out that it requires Java.

I think these figures are of interest to Desktop Java developers in general. We need to measure these figures in order to improve upon them and ideally they should be public knowledge so we can brainstorm together on where to go from here.

trembovetski
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Joined: 2003-12-31

The only figure I know (and it was publicized at Javaone) is the number of verified _new_ jre installations hovers around 50 millions a month. That doesn't count auto update afaik.

Dmitri

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

> The only figure I know (and it was publicized at
> Javaone) is the number of verified _new_ jre
> installations hovers around 50 millions a month. That
> doesn't count auto update afaik.

Are we talking downloads of the installer or the number of people who successfully installed the JRE? 50 million a month is mighty impressive :) I believe Flash is hovering at about 25 million installations a month.

Still, it remains to be seen where that 50 million goes to. It's one thing if we're talking about server-side installs. It's another thing if we're talking about home users. As I've said before, I'd love to get more accuracy figures from Sun, similar to those already published by Flash. It would help both our business and theirs.

Gili

trembovetski
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Joined: 2003-12-31

I believe those were successful installations.

> It's one thing if we're talking about server-side installs.

Where have you seen servers which install the JRE from java.com?
These are pure java on desktop numbers.

Dmitri

prime21
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Joined: 2005-06-15

Dmitri,

What evidence do you have that people are not being turned off and aborting the Java install? Sun has no idea how many people are getting to the "Do you want to install a bunch of non-Java crap on you system?" installation wizard page and just cancel out of the whole thing in disgust.

If the 6u10 kernel installer avoids the formal JRE install process (no wizard at all), then that would really help. However, if the 6u10 install requires my users to battle through several wizard pages and decline to have a bunch of bloat (completely unrelated to Java mind you) on their system, then I'll just stick with Flash/Flex.

Is Sun serious about competing with Flash or not? Does Sun want applets to break out of the intranet and on to the general web or not? If they do, then they need to make it so that getting 6u10 and beyond on end users systems is as easy as possible... Otherwise, Sun can expect the Status Quo -- Flash dominating, and applets being avoided by developers and end users.

Sun can do what they want, but guess how many people are going to see the Sun logo when 100% of the RIA market has been taken over by Flex and Silverlight? Sun should drop the ad-ware crap and stay in the game. I'm sure they'll get all the publicity they want when the next generation of killer RIAs are developed with Java instead of Flex.

On a lighter note, I really appreciate all of your hard work on Java2D Dmitri :-). Sorry for being such a jerk about this, but I just REALLY want to see client side Java win. I feel like the feedback I'm giving now is essential for Java applets and JavaFX to win... But I'm fine with Flex too, so whatever :-).

-Bryan

fabriziogiudici
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Joined: 2006-01-04

> Dmitri,
>
> What evidence do you have that people are not being
> turned off and aborting the Java install? Sun has
> no idea how many people are getting to the "Do you
> want to install a bunch of non-Java crap on you
> system?" installation wizard page and just cancel out
> of the whole thing in disgust.

Indeed, they could have this number. They should know how many people initiate the download and how many complete the installation, thus getting the count of disgusted people by difference.

In any case, I agree that there must be no wizards at all.

Message was edited by: fabriziogiudici

fatbatman
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Joined: 2004-12-24

Hi,

The install process is truely horrid and what I've seen so far from update 10 is not much better.

>> 1) If Sun wanted to advertise OpenOffice without offending end-users, how would you suggest they do so?

Sun does not have the luxury at the moment, Flash is so far ahead in terms of the number of products/websites using it, or in development, Java update 10/JavaFX may be the last chance for Java in the browser.
Forget spamming users for now, produce a flawless install, get people using Java for client side development again, then when Sun is in a position of strength they can leverage that, by advertising toolbars etc during an update, but definitely not now.
Insane.

>> 2) Perhaps Sun needs to bundle Google/Yahoo toolbars in exchange for Google/Yahoo bundling the JRE with their own software offerings. Do you have a better idea on how to increased Java penetration without this friction?

What I said above, explain the they can't do this for now, but agree to do so in future updates.

>> 3) What should applet backgrounds display by default if not the Java logo? What does Flash, Silverlight, etc do?

It should be transparent so as to be the same colour as the page background.

>> 4) What should users see when a page contains an applet but they don't have a JRE installed? What do Flash, Silverlight, etc do? Should the plugin wizard install the normal JRE or Kernel JRE in this case?

It should depend on what the owner of the web page wants. They should include the script that best meets their needs, Kernal or normal.

>> 7) If Sun published figures similar to http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplayer/version_penetrat... would it encourage you to deploy Applets as part of your business offering, or not?

Not unless the installl process is as good as for Flash and stops advertising other products mid install, and why so many different windows....horrible, arrggggghhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!
It should be a single window with a single button to press and no checkboxes.

osbald
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Joined: 2003-06-13

> 5) What purpose do you believe the Plugin tray icon serves? How could you achieve
> the same functionality without a tray icon?

I don't think it's of any value to the end user at all. I've almost never used it myself expect to double check what version of Java the applet thinks its running or to see if the applets a bit rubbish or has actually crashed.

As the plugin is being tied to JWS I'd integrate the tray icon with the JWS debugging and logging options. JWS allows developers to opt-in to log to a file or show the console. Do the same for applets, either float the console on applet start (if set) or use the tray icon.. why not let the JWS console minimize to tray? It's serving the same purposes.

The issue then is how do you report errors or failures to the user.. but I see that as more a developer issue. A stacktrace in a minimized java cup app isn't going to mean much to joe user even if they knew where to look.

Does the java6u10 quickstarter have a tray icon too? I'm stuck on 5.0 (for some years).. But I'm hoping not.

> 6) Would the toolbar, tray icon, logo, etc be acceptable in a JDK installer instead of
> a JRE installer?

Heavens Nooooo, I'd sooner start compiling my own OpenJDKs for Windows

> 7) If Sun published figures similar to
> http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplayer/version_penetrat... >would it encourage you to deploy Applets as part of your business offering, or not?

I don't think so, streamlining the whole experience, including the horribly scary permissions dialogs when you install/run signed applets or web start apps maybe. Allowing for another couple of security permissions bundles like j2ee-application-client-permissions to run applications that use properties and reflection before needing signing may help.. The policies haven't kept pace with the demands of modern APIs. This'll might well hobble the JavaFX experience too if FX script bindings uses reflection?

Honestly I can't think of any reason I'd choose to use Applets at all, and except for a few games back in the mid-90s when Java was shipped with Windows and/or the dominant browsers, I don't think I've ever really used one in anger. Installing the runtime for client who'll be launching apps (ideally via Web Start) is where I'm coming from.

linuxhippy
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Joined: 2004-01-07

> Why would Java be so adamant in
> advertising itself with the *end users* is, frankly,
> beyond my comprehension.

Users need to know something uses Java, because Java does not come pre-bundled with the most important client-OS.
Furthermore whats the problem with some sun-advertising, they finance the whole java development, don't you think they have the right to advertise their work?

However when it comes to the toolbar, yes, this is a sad story.
I hope it will be removed for JDK6u10, because you know ... only really weird software installs some toolbars.
And after all, its not that client friendly.

lg Clemens

prime21
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Joined: 2005-06-15

Brother Clemens,

Sun has every right to advertise within the Java runtime. It is completely their right to do so, and they can choose to ignore me and all others who are complaining about this problem. But it's not smart for Sun to do that. Sun has a real opportunity to dominate in the RIA space. But they are turning developers and end users off left-and-right.

If using Java applets means that you're going to become a Java.com/Sun.com billboard by default, then fewer developers are going to choose Java as a platform for their RIAs. How does this help Sun?

The current ad-ware approach is really going to hurt Sun. Fewer developers are going to use Java and Sun technologies when they can choose other free client facing technologies like Flash/Flex. Fewer developers using your platform means fewer (if any) killer apps will be developed with Java/JavaFX applets compared to Flex or Silverlight. And so forth. Driving thousands of potential developers and end-users away from the Java platform is not going to be worth the one or two people who notice that some applet with written in Java and Java was created by Sun.

These complains raised about the Java.com ad-ware in Java applets is valid. Sun should do themselves (and all of their developers) a favor and rip that crap out.

I LOVE Java, and want to see it (and Sun) succeed. Let's do the right thing for Sun and Java developers and make applets into the success they've been begging to become.

-Bryan

trembovetski
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Joined: 2003-12-31

> But they are turning developers and end users off left-and-right.

Where's your evidence to this?

Meaning, that it is the "advertising stuff during the install" that's hurting the
developers/users, and not just technical issues with the current plugin/jre size /etc.

According to our stats, LOTS of people actually do follow those links (like
openoffice), and do install toolbars.

Dmitri

mthornton
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Joined: 2003-06-10

I don't mind being offered the toolbar once, I object to having to decline it regularly.

prime21
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Joined: 2005-06-15

Kirill,
I couldn't agree more. Java is way too pushy. I would love to use Java applets for many things that I'm now using Flex for, however, I can't make a case to use Java applets when this kind of crap is going on. Sun's JRE needs a zero-friction installer (like Flash 9), ditch the OOo download offer & the Yahoo! tool bar bull crap, eliminate all "Hey! You should browse away from this Sucker's web site and come over to Java.com" in-your-face messages, and kill the sys tray nonsense.

Java could be a dominant platform for RIA, but not if Sun doesn't clean this crap out of 6u10. Come on Sun. Flex is a VERY viable alternative. If actually want to compete with Flex, then you might want to consider ripping out the ad-ware/bloat-ware from your runtime.

-Bryan

mrmorris
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Joined: 2006-07-26

Everybody keeps mentioning Yahoo toolbar, even the original article. But last time I demo'ed the install experience, it was Google Toolbar though. Do Sun bundle both depending on the distribution?!

http://www.brunata.com/ptd/3/google-toolbar-bundled.png

mthornton
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Joined: 2003-06-10

Try not installing Flash and see what happens. You will be invited to install it dozens of times every day and there is no way (on many browsers) to say "don't ask me ever again".
If you don't install Silverlight, a similar irritation occurs on many Microsoft sites.

kirillcool
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Joined: 2004-11-17

> Try not installing Flash and see what happens. You
> will be invited to install it dozens of times every
> day and there is no way (on many browsers) to say
> "don't ask me ever again".

Ummm - doesn't it just mean that every other site uses Flash?

mthornton
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Joined: 2003-06-10

Yes, but while often the content is still accessible without, you still have the annoyance have being told you haven't got it. The effect is much the same as Java's 'advertising' except that it is targeted at people who haven't installed it as opposed to those that have.

prime21
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Joined: 2005-06-15

Your argument is ridiculous. Have you every "installed" Flash? It takes about 5 seconds to install the FF plugin or ActiveX control (small download and zero-friction installer). 96-98% of all systems have Flash installed. Perhaps this is so because people have no problem taking a few seconds to install (or upgrade) Flash player. Compared to Flash, Java is a major ordeal to get installed or upgraded. Even 6u10 is bigger and has a multi-page intrusive wizard installer. I hope that 6u10 is cleaned up to get rid of all the Java.com ad-ware and have a truly small, zero-friction installer.

mthornton
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Joined: 2003-06-10

Your argument appears to be that I'm not allowed to not install flash for whatever reason. That is rather more ridiculous.

My reason for trying not to install it had nothing to do with download size or ease of installation. With a 10Mb/s download rate even Java doesn't take long. I just irritated by the effects people produce with it (and in some cases the cycles they burn).

prime21
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Joined: 2005-06-15

Fair enough, but Adobe has no control over the fact that gazillions of web sites use their player. If you don't want to see flash, then use AdBlock.

However, the things that Adobe does have control over are handled superbly. Flash player's installer is small and effortless. Large flash applets display generic (or custom branded) progress indicators, not a huge neon advertisement for Flash or Adobe. Flash player doesn't stuff a new icon in your sys tray that further prompts the user to "Vist Adobe.com" and entice them to browse away from the current site.

In short, Flash player is not guilty of making things more difficult than they need to be for end users and developers, and that's why Flash is everywhere and Java applets are virtually nowhere.

-Bryan

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

> In short, Flash player is not guilty of making things
> more difficult than they need to be for end users and
> developers, and that's why Flash is everywhere and
> Java applets are virtually nowhere.

I've got to say, I totally agree with Bryan on this one. I recognize the fact that there are technical difficulties reproducing the same experience with Java (because of its size and complexity) but you've got to admit: Flash does an *amazing* job with their installer! As much as Java6 Update10 has made progress it's still light years behind.

In an ideal world we'd want Java to install as seamlessly as Flash does... So what's stopping us?

mrmorris
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Joined: 2006-07-26

Because Java as a brand name is the most valuable asset Sun has, evident by their Nasdaq ticker change to JAVA. It would be interesting to see the state of Java, had it been Sun's engineers rather than their marketing department setting the agenda.

> They are not installing Java-the-language, but
> Java-the-runtime and you bet that end users might
> be aware of installing them, much like the .NET
> runtime, or a printer driver.

Yeah but for all practical purposes Java the language is synonymous with Java the API and Java the VM (would we have a JVM and a JRE without Java the language?).

The JRE should simply be installed transparently, the user must perceive that only the application in context is being installed. That this particular application is dependent on a JVM and some libraries is irrelevant from the point of the user.

fabriziogiudici
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Joined: 2006-01-04

> Yeah but for all practical purposes Java the language
> is synonymous with Java the API and Java the VM
> (would we have a JVM and a JRE without Java the
> language?).

Theoretically we could, in the near future, as many languages are proliferating. Apart from the fact that ZDNet should be more accurate, my point is that the quoted sentence is just gratuitous - while we all agree about the rest. BTW, I never tried it, but I suppose that people will be aware of the framework when installing things based on Silverlight or Moonlight. Am I wrong?

bavarian
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Joined: 2006-11-22

I agree with you.

Load a page with a bigger applet (bigger in width/height and filesize). The browser shortly freezes (okay, will/might be fixed in java7 as I've read).
Next you see the java logo "come visit us at Java.com". My visitors shouldn't visit anyone and leave from my page except when I set a link or something. And when I go to java.com I see "download java". Wait a minute - the user already HAS java installed when he saw the logo while starting the applet, right?
And finally a new Icon in the systray appears that only vanishes if the applet crashes, if I disable it by rightclicking etc. or after closing the browser (Okay, no matter for people having 20+ tray icons, but I don't like it).

In my opinion a _browser_plugin_ should have a damn good reason for adding itself to the task tray (which a simple java applet usually has NOT) and I'm happy that not every plugin adds itself to the tray. Regarding my about:plugins page, I wonder if I've ever seen one of the other programs poping up somewhere during browsing ...

So what is the user experience on my java enabled page? "Your site makes my browser hang, you have this java advertising thingy before your program starts and you install stuff in my tray!"
And the only way I can change it is ... not using java on the page. :-(

just my 2c

joshy
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Joined: 2003-07-02

Note that you can completely customize the loading screen on your webpage using background colors, images, and animated gifs. It's entirely up to you. The Java logo is simply a default if you have provided nothing of your own.

kirillcool
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Joined: 2004-11-17

I don't recall Flash having any default loading screen that says "i'm flash, here's link to adobe.com".

psynixis
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Joined: 2005-04-26

Kirill, you're right. I appreciate that the engineers have lots to do before Java Update10 and JavaFX ships. However, these little details *do* matter.

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

From the editor's daily blog: http://weblogs.java.net/blog/editors/archives/2008/05/burning_bridges.html

>"[...]so I forwarded it on to the Java Posse group for discussion and followup, where
>several (including JavaFX engineer Josh Marinacci) noted that most of the other offenders
>were far more annoying. Even the Slashdot followups found comparatively far less fault
>with Java's presentation."

I think you're comparing the wrong candidates here. One shouldn't be comparing how annoying RealPlayer is to Java, but rather how annoying Java is in comparison to Flash and Silverlight. I don't think I've heard a single person dispute that Java is far more annoying than those two.

>"[...]Now, what do you think? Does the Java installer and toolbar plugin enhance the
>brand or badger the user?"

In my opinion, badger. Sun did a great job in update10 by creating the Kernel installer and enhancing the Applet Plugin... but that's only half the job. Unless Sun follows up by fixing the remaining (major!) usability issues I honestly believe that Java won't take off on the desktop. I *love* using Java whenever possible in my projects, but even *I* would think twice before using Java on the desktop. I've tried to do so in the past and ran into many of these problems.

My recurring criticism of Sun is that they don't fully address RFEs. Recent releases have felt "half-baked", as if only part of the RFE was addressed. It is frustrating to have to file a new RFE, waiting a few *more* years, just to have the rest of your request addressed. I hope I don't sound like I'm nitpicking here. My point is that if our goal was to make Java a viable competitor to Flash and Silverlight then we should come quite close before moving on to other RFEs. I am afraid that if Sun is allowed to close update10 they won't follow it up with a second release to fix the remaining issues.

I guess what I am saying is that "Java on the Desktop" needs to be the theme of a major release, like Java7, to get it right. This is going to take a lot of time, but the rewards are equally great. I mean, think about it... you're trying to position Java as the primary platform for Internet and Desktop applications. That's huge! :)

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

I'd like to turn this conversation around a bit in the hopes of making it more constructive. Let's try to find a nice compromise that would make *both* end-users and Sun Microsystems happy.

We've identified the following problems with the JRE:

1) JRE offers to install toolbars and OpenOffice which comes across as spamy
2) The default background for applets tries to drive users away from the customer's website
3) The Java Plugin tray icon offers little value to end-users and comes across as spamy
4) JRE installer caches files in %UserProfile%\Application Data\Sun instead of UserProfile%\Local Settings\Sun\ which causes problems for roaming users.

I believe #4 is best resolved by osbald filing a bug report with Sun.

Now I have some questions for you:

1) If Sun wanted to advertise OpenOffice without offending end-users, how would you suggest they do so?
2) Perhaps Sun needs to bundle Google/Yahoo toolbars in exchange for Google/Yahoo bundling the JRE with their own software offerings. Do you have a better idea on how to increased Java penetration without this friction?
3) What should applet backgrounds display by default if not the Java logo? What does Flash, Silverlight, etc do?
4) What should users see when a page contains an applet but they don't have a JRE installed? What do Flash, Silverlight, etc do? Should the plugin wizard install the normal JRE or Kernel JRE in this case?
5) What purpose do you believe the Plugin tray icon serves? How could you achieve the same functionality without a tray icon?
6) Would the toolbar, tray icon, logo, etc be acceptable in a JDK installer instead of a JRE installer?
7) If Sun published figures similar to http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplayer/version_penetrat... would it encourage you to deploy Applets as part of your business offering, or not?

I'm curious to hear what you guys think.

Gili

kirillcool
Offline
Joined: 2004-11-17

> I'd like to turn this conversation around a bit in
> 1) If Sun wanted to advertise OpenOffice without
> offending end-users, how would you suggest they do
> so?

That is Sun's problem to solve. I don't see Flash installer advertising Photoshop, why would Java (JRE / JDK) installer advertise a product that has absolutely nothing to do with the current flow of the user?

> 2) Perhaps Sun needs to bundle Google/Yahoo toolbars
> in exchange for Google/Yahoo bundling the JRE with
> their own software offerings. Do you have a better
> idea on how to increased Java penetration without
> this friction?

Java penetration is achieved by deals with PC OEMs. Sun already has agreements with 10 out of top 10. Bundling toolbars is purely for monetary purposes, not to achieve higher Java penetration.

> 3) What should applet backgrounds display by default
> if not the Java logo? What does Flash, Silverlight,
> etc do?

They start so fast that there is no need for the default screen.

> 4) What should users see when a page contains an
> applet but they don't have a JRE installed? What do
> Flash, Silverlight, etc do? Should the plugin wizard
> install the normal JRE or Kernel JRE in this case?

Flash / Silverlight can't do anything since they are not installed. This is up to the browser to decide.

> 5) What purpose do you believe the Plugin tray icon
> serves? How could you achieve the same functionality
> without a tray icon?

Absolutely no value to the end user.

> 6) Would the toolbar, tray icon, logo, etc be
> acceptable in a JDK installer instead of a JRE
> installer?

No.

> 7) If Sun published figures similar to
> http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplaye
> r/version_penetration.html would it encourage you to
> deploy Applets as part of your business offering, or
> not?

Aren't messages on "billions of devices" and "hundreds of millions of downloads" already being pumped?

Kirill

cowwoc
Offline
Joined: 2003-08-24

> > I'd like to turn this conversation around a bit in
> > 1) If Sun wanted to advertise OpenOffice without
> > offending end-users, how would you suggest they do
> > so?
>
> That is Sun's problem to solve. I don't see Flash
> installer advertising Photoshop, why would Java (JRE
> / JDK) installer advertise a product that has
> absolutely nothing to do with the current flow of the
> user?

Which is why I was asking if you could suggest a way for them to advertise OpenOffice in a non-intrusive way. For example, Sun offers developers a plain JDK download alongside a JDK + Netbeans download. Since developers likely need an IDE if they are downloading the JDK this combination makes sense. Could a similar arrangement be made for OpenOffice?

> > 3) What should applet backgrounds display by
> default
> > if not the Java logo? What does Flash,
> Silverlight,
> > etc do?
>
> They start so fast that there is no need for the
> default screen.

I don't think that's true. Even if the plugin itself loads quickly the underlying website sending the applet or flash application is not always fast. Most Flash applications have a "loading, please wait..." screen. We need to display something for applets that take longer than a second to load. That "something" could be empty space, but more likely it is some sort of preview or "please wait" image.

> > 4) What should users see when a page contains an
> > applet but they don't have a JRE installed? What
> do
> > Flash, Silverlight, etc do? Should the plugin
> wizard
> > install the normal JRE or Kernel JRE in this case?
>
> Flash / Silverlight can't do anything since they are
> not installed. This is up to the browser to decide.

The plugin wizard (which is part of the browser) decides which plugin to download and it is within Sun's power to decide which JRE gets downloaded. My question remains, are we better off sending the normal or Kernel JRE to such users?

> > 7) If Sun published figures similar to
> >
> http://www.adobe.com/products/player_census/flashplaye
>
> > r/version_penetration.html would it encourage you
> to
> > deploy Applets as part of your business offering,
> or
> > not?
>
> Aren't messages on "billions of devices" and
> "hundreds of millions of downloads" already being
> pumped?

It's one thing for Java to be installed on "billions of devices" but if those decides are mobile handsets and my customers are desktop users then I really don't care, do I? Furthermore, I believe there is value in knowing which version of the JRE end-users have, otherwise how will you know whether you should program against JRE 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 or 1.6? Consider the fact that to this very day some companies code against JRE 1.1 because they have no idea what their customers use and they want to be able to capture the biggest market-share possible. If you could show them that 95% of users have JRE 1.5 installed it would make a big difference in the way Java applications are built.

Gili

osbald
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Joined: 2003-06-13

I wouldn't say it shouts spyware, but it does come across as being tacky and cheap.

You have to wonder what a popup asking to install the Sun Java Runtime means to joe user? "Huh? what's this? Some kind of coffee-related movie player like Quicktime?", "An Indonesian athletes world clock?". A lot of users will have learnt the hard way that popups are bad, and you certainly shouldn't click on "More Information" or "OK" that's asking for trouble and a lifetime of spam.

You can get trapped on the other side of this, we've got an application (started by batch scripts - dont ask) that needs 1.5, so our installation instructions need to tell the users to disable "java update" after installation and never, never upgrade. The flip side of this is you find users with five years worth of updates crufting up their harddisk for no good reason.

One of my pet peeves is the misue(?) of the profiles %UserProfile%\Application Data\Sun to store the caches and copies of the install msi files for runtimes rather than say %UserProfile%\Local Settings\Sun\..\cache for temporary files. If you've got roving profiles like us it's a royal pain to wait while the server syncs up the runtime caches. Mozilla get this right with mozilla profiles and cache. But I guess thats intranets who have their own problems with locked down policies and needing admin rights to install & update.. Mind you .netbeans and .intellijidea70, .m2 and .ivy are as bad (have to keep hacking their cfgs after every install).

Always room for improvement, it's not the guys complaining I'm worried about it's the ones who don't complain because they've never felt the need to install Java are the ones that scare me.

Oh and the other thing I've seen is after install and update or the applet tries to call out users will often click "no" when the windows firewalls asks for permission to contact the remote server. Thereby crippling the runtime, how many users with a bad experience of Java have done something silly like this?

Message was edited by: osbald

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

More negative feedback on http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?design.4.632612

Why *does* the JRE installer offer to install a toolbar? This smells of spyware and will send users running.

trembovetski
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Joined: 2003-12-31

Because Sun is trying to make money, you know.

Dmitri

cowwoc
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Joined: 2003-08-24

No doubt, but Sun needs to evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the costs. In my experience, users avoid products with toolbar installers like the plague.

kirillcool
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Joined: 2004-11-17

Client Java is just way too pushy. I don't see Flex / Silverlight popping any console windows, adding tray icons, or even showing their name in the *default* loading sequence. Why would Java be so adamant in advertising itself with the *end users* is, frankly, beyond my comprehension.

My 2c.
Kirill

fabriziogiudici
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Joined: 2006-01-04

The article says:

[i]
Java doesn't do anything by itself. It's a programming language. Programming languages are like sewage plants: if the average user becomes aware of them, something's gone wrong
[/i]

Well, that's wrong in the context and I'm surprised a reputable magazine such as ZDNet made this error. They are not installing Java-the-language, but Java-the-runtime and you bet that end users might be aware of installing them, much like the .NET runtime, or a printer driver.

Given that, I agree that Sun should keep a low-profile with the installer. I don't think that the problem is the logo, most people are annoyed by installation of unrequested stuff, such as the Yahoo! toolbar.