Java 7 arrives for (nearly) all
Last week, the fourth update release of Java 7 from Oracle was announced. Now, the users of Java, rather than just the developers, are being offered the chance to update to Java 7. Although Java 7 came out in July 2011, Oracle, Java owner and producer of the binary Java releases for end users, continued to give priority to Java 6. The Java 6 release continued to receive updates from Oracle, but developers have been waiting for Oracle to start updating users to a Java 7 based JRE (Java Runtime Environment) so they can be confident that, when shipping a Java 7 based application, the user will be able to run the application. Oracle says that it is beginning the update process for all users with Java already installed and that they should get an automatic upgrade in the coming months.
Oracle recommends that end users should always use the latest version of the Java platform as it contains the latest features and, more importantly, security updates. Users can check which version of Java they are running by consulting the Java.com web site. Oracle also recommends that users remove older versions of Java from their system and offers instructions on how to accomplish that.
The update to Java 7 for end users only applies to Windows users though. Linux users are still being offered Java 6 Update 32, the "All Java Downloads" page only offers Java 6 Update 32 for Windows, Linux and Solaris, and an FAQ page still directs users to Oracle.com for Java 7.
Also, despite the Java 7 update 4 release being the first release from Oracle of a Java 7 JDK (Java Development Kit) for Mac OS X, the Java.com site doesn't have an Oracle JRE (Java Runtime Environment) for the Apple operating system and still refers users to Apple for updates of the older Java 6. It was Apple's lack of speed in releasing an update to close a security hole that allowed the Flashback malware to gain a foothold. It took two months before Apple released a fixed version of Java, by which time 600,000 or more Mac systems were infected. Oracle says a Mac OS X Java 7 JRE will be coming from them later in the year.