Frequently Asked Questions
For instance, a car dealership has several automobiles on its lot. Each of the cars is an object, but each has different characteristics called classes, which are the different models, engines, paint color and so on. A customer selects a red pickup truck, but wants to add a better stereo system. The new pickup inherits all the characteristics from the object “pickup truck,” and the programmer is simply tasked to modify the “stereo” class as opposed to building an entirely new vehicle. This is what makes Java an ideal platform for cell phones, website forums, gaming consoles and anything else that requires constant updates and modifications.
Programs created with Java are portable because they are assembled in bytecode. It can be executed on any server that has Java Virtual Machine (JVM) installed. Unlike C++, objects created with Java do not have to reference external data. This means a Java application will continue running even if your operating system or some other external program crash.
Java is the second-most utilized programming language in the world, just behind C and ahead of C++ and Objective C. It is free to download and update. It requires Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.7.3 or later, and works with most Linux-based systems.
Java was once considered the future of the Internet and was absolutely necessary to run just about everything after it was released. Now, most cybersecurity experts recommend uninstalling Java if you have it on your computer. If it is essential that you use Java, dedicate one browser for surfing with Java and use another one for all other Web activities.
The issue was, however, recently complicated in the courts. Federal litigation between Google and Oracle in 2012 led to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison being asked the question in open court: “Is Java free?” When the judge pushed him to answer with a yes or no, Ellison reportedly grew visibly uncomfortable before answering, “I don’t know.” Oracle accused Google of copyright infringement by using Java code in its Android operating system without paying for the proper licenses (to the tune of $6.1 billion). Google contended that the code it used is public domain, so the company is not required to pay licensing fees. Google was ultimately cleared of most of the claims, but the case is currently being appealed.
The simple answer to this question for everyday computer users is yes, Java is free. Programmers and other who profit from Java may be required to pay licensing fees.
Java Development Kit (JDK, for programmers) source code can be downloaded from the Oracle website for Windows users. Ubuntu users can obtain the code simply by searching “openjdk” and installing it. Mac OS X users can download the Java for OS X Developer Package from Apple developer website.
Several third-parties do offer Java downloads, but exercise caution when using them. Download.com is one of the most reliable sites and generally gets positive reviews from users. Do not trust any other websites claiming to offer a free Java download, as you could inadvertently open your system to malware and trojans.
You can set it to scan for updates as often as you like or you can manually check at any time. Oracle recommends you keep Java Auto Update enabled. The default setting will notify users once per month of any needed updates.