Why You Should Keep an Eye on Java Updates – or Just Use Ninite

I’d like to talk to all of you about something known as ‘foistware.’

Essentially, this is when an otherwise legitimate application attempts to force a bunch of bloatware, spyware, and possibly even malware on its users, hiding unnecessary toolkits and addons with every download, every installation; every update.

It’s something we’ve been seeing happen a lot online lately.

But why worry, right? After all, it’s just lower-level developers pulling these underhanded, deceptive stunts, isn’t it? Surely larger devs and organizations would be more accountable to their customers. Surely larger application distributors wouldn’t attempt it?

No JavaYou wish. Believe it or not, trying to force bloatware onto users is a disturbingly common trend, particularly among larger developers. Adobe once did it with virtually every product. Microsoft used to do it with Skype. Apple does it with iTunes. And Java does it with Oracle – to a degree that makes the other two look like absolute saints.

It’s so bad, in fact; that ZDnet on Tuesday crowned Java “the new king of foistware.” Of course, they also noted that, in addition; its security features are about as effective as a screen door on a tank.

As if Oracle didn’t have enough bad publicity already.

One of the worst pieces of crapware piggybacking on the Java installation is the Ask toolbar. Pretty much everything about it screams adware – and it even takes a number of unethical measures which honestly border on malicious.

For one, if you install it by accident, the installer hangs for ten minutes before dropping its payload on the system – it does basically everything in its power to make the installation difficult to prevent.

The uninstall process is a similarly tiresome affair.  It hijacks address bar search, takes over default search, and seizes control of address bar handling. Whenever you carry out a search with this piece of trash installs, it takes you to IAC Mywebsearch: a website which features poor results, ads that don’t fit with industry standards and a great deal of additional adware installations.

Oh, it also installs a browser toolbar – and those are always bad news.

Why does Oracle try to dump such a terrible abomination of an app on its users? Basically, they’re in it for the money – they get paid royalties for each toolbar that’s installed.

The whole process stinks: it’s underhanded, and unethical, and you’re probably better off skipping Java’s automatic update process and going straight to Ninite.



  1. I deleted Java from my computers a couple weeks ago. Since then I have found that I really don’t need it. Eventually Larry Ellison will figure out that if he is going to abuse people that people will figure out in return that they really don’t need his products.

  2. Don’t need to skip the process: Just skip Java.

  3. But if you remove java from your computer, don’t you also lose functionality on many webpages? I use NoScript, which does block java when I initially land on a new webpage. There are times I can read the text, which is all I wanted to do anyway–so that is OK; but then there are times that I can’t get the information on a webpage without allowing NoScript to OK java. On some unfamiliar sites–I’ll just leave. But some are websites of well-known companies, stores, etc. that show a message that I need java to access the page, so I’ll OK it with NoScript. Do you feel this is still a danger I shouldn’t allow?

    • Apples & oranges = Java & JavaScript; read up on the difference (may try the good offices of Ask-Leo). I repeat: You do not need Java. Anything that can be done with it can also be done without it.

      • Thanks for your help. I will check for the differences at Ask-Leo as you suggested because I never knew that ‘anything that can be done WITH Java can also be done WITHOUT it’! That’s great! I’ll have to educate myself on the alternatives to using Java. I get a few computer newsletters but never saw any article suggesting or educating readers about this. Thanks again–your info was a helpful eye opener. I like to stay as safe as possible online and am glad you responded to my messages.

    • Don’t confuse Java with JavaScript – two separate things. JavaScript is used in many sites. Uninstall Java and see if any sites look for Java.

  4. What’s up with ninite? I hit the installer button on the bottom of the page, and it told me I had to pick a few apps. So, I chose Java that I had previously uninstalled, Picasa and Flash (IE). It installed those programs, but I thought that it would install Ninite as a program.

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