Anyway, he had been reading about Java and realized that he had a very old version installed, one that had some known security holes. So, he went to Sun’s site (www.sun.com) to get the update. And, the confusion started.
Sun Microsystem’s main site has more than most people would ever want to know about Java, including more versions that you could install than you really want. In other words, the Sun site really focuses on the needs of programmers, not users.
Fortunately, Sun realized this was a problem for users, so they set up www.java.com as an easy user site.
On this site, you can download the current version of Java. You can even check to see if you have the right version. How? You click and download a Java application that runs on your computer.
Whoa! Don’t I often write about Microsoft’s ActiveX and the dangers of downloadable (including driveby downloads) programs that use ActiveX? What makes Sun’s Java so much better?
Fortunately, Sun planned and designed Java for safety and control — the safety of your computer and control of the Java application by the Java RunTime that you get only from Sun.
Java grabs a chunk of memory and then turns it into a protected sandbox — and this is where Java programs run. They can not get out of the box. ActiveX, on the other hand, has full access to your computer, its memory, its hard drives and all your data.
Back to the main story…
The easiest way to update your Java installation, or to install it if you don’t already have it installed, is to go to www.java.com . That will let you confirm whether you have the latest version or not (you don’t).
It will also offer you TWO download options — download & install automatically (the XPI — XP Installer download) or download & save the file (so you can install later and/or copy to another computer without having to download again).
I’m a firm believer in downloading and then installing – as two steps. That way, I know that there is no installation starting until I have the whole download on my computer (so power failure, ISP failure, etc. can’t mess me up).
By the way, I had 1.4.2_06 on my notebook. I’d updated some other computers, but somehow missed my primary machine!