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Taking Back Windows XP

Adding Java to Your Browser

(Originally appeared in BugNet in January 2002)

While Windows XP was shipped with unnecessary services running by default, (see this issue’s story about the Universal Plug and Play security hole) it wasn’t shipped with Java. More precisely, it wasn’t shipped with the Java Runtime Engine that would allow Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 to display Java applets, which are little programs that some web sites use to display content or implement features. (Java is different from JavaScript. IE 6 does support JavaScript.)

Java is a technology developed by Sun Microsystems, a competitor to Microsoft in a number of fields. They won a court case against Microsoft over the way Microsoft was implementing Java in Windows. Later, Microsoft decided not to include Java in Windows XP. They have an open letter on their web site explaining their views, for they don’t want anyone to get the idea that, because they lost the court case, they are taking their ball and going home.

In any event, some web sites won’t have all their features work without the Java Runtime Engine for Internet Explorer, and since Java is used in many sites, it is something many users may want.

There are at least two places to get it. The first may be to go right to the source, Sun, to get their version. It can be downloaded and installed automatically by clicking the button on Sun’s “Get Java Technology” page. The second place to get it is Microsoft’s Virtual Machine for Internet Explorer page.

(3/18/2004: Since this article was originally written, the court case has taken many more turns. While there is still a Microsoft Java page, it will be far better to go to Sun.)

Sun’s Get Java Technology Page for Windows XP

Transitioning from the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine

Take Back Windows Page