Stop bundling Ask Toolbar with the Java installer

A petition asking Oracle to stop bundling the Ask toolbar with the Java installer is currently ongoing. I have the impression that this petition should be getting more attention and this is why I am writing this blog post. Read and sign the petition here.

The disreputable practice of bundling bloatware with the Java installer is not originally Oracle’s fault, as Sun started it. However, Oracle refuses to discontinue it. The installer doesn’t force you to install the Ask toolbar, but you have to opt-out explicitly. This is an unnerving task if you have to install security updates for a large set of machines. Indeed, the practice came into wide criticsm once again when Oracle rolled out high-priority security updates earlier last month. How sensible is it to bundle high-priority security updates together with software that compromises the system?

Here is a verbatim copy of the petition text:

Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation
Editor of Oracle Magazine
Editor of Java Magazine
Stop bundling Ask Toolbar with the Java installer

[Your name]

More than 13000 people (including myself) have signed the petition so far, but the target is 250000, so we still have a long way to go. Among the signatories are also highly renowned Java experts, such as Joshua Bloch, whose statement I want to repeat here:

Installing malware by default along with a patches that correct security holes is untenable. Oracle is violating the trust of the hundreds of millions of users who run Java on their machines. They are tarnishing the reputation of a once proud platform. This isn’t even close to reasonable. It has to stop.


6 thoughts on “Stop bundling Ask Toolbar with the Java installer

  1. Thanks for link. As listed on that site, Oracle also provides installers without the toolbar. I still hope that it gets removed from any installer soon.

  2. I do like the Java ecosystem, with it’s thousands of free libraries, several additional languages (such as Groovy) and portability to practically any platform too much to leave it because of something like that. Furthermore it’s not my intention to “teach someone a lesson”, I would rather like them to not do damage to that ecosystem.

    By the way, the Ask toolbar is a browser extension and works on Linux as “well” as it does on Windows.

  3. Or better yet. Leave Java and look for something, if not better than different. And if you do this you might think about leaving M$ altogether. I guess there is no ASK bar for Linux available.

    Simply leaving that ecosystem will teach them better than any petition can.

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