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J2SE 5.0 updates

Posted by simongbrown on May 4, 2005 at 6:57 AM PDT

This blog entry should really be titled, "J2SE 5.0 updates, or the lack of them". I've read Graham's blog entry about J2SE 5.0 updates a couple of times now and I still don't understand why you wouldn't want to push out minor updates via the consumer java.com website. The end result of this is that J2SE 5.0 Update 2 is available from java.com, while Update 3 is available from the java.sun.com website.

I can see why this may be simpler for end-users, but not for anybody else. Think about it. You're supporting an application and a user encounters a bug that you don't see on your computer with the JDK installed. A response of "make sure your JRE is up-to-date" just isn't going to cut it anymore. As far as the end-user is concerned, their JRE is up-to-date. Unfortunately we know better. Of course, we could point them at the java.sun.com website, but then that defeats the purpose of the user-friendly java.com website.

Anyway, putting the inconsistency issues between java.sun.com and java.com to one side (there are a lot of very good responses to Graham's blog entry), what happens when Apple starts delivering J2SE 5.0 through the Mac OS X Software Update channel? This is the primary mechanism to ensure that end-users (and developers!) have the most up-to-date version of the Java runtime. If Apple make Update 3 available via Software Update, for once, Mac users will have a more up-to-date version of the runtime than those running Windows! Well, until Mustang is released anyway.

I just don't get it. The Java runtime version numbering is confusing enough as it is. Take a look at the java.com website, even that refers to "JRE 1.5.0" rather than "J2SE 5.0". Complicate matters further by not ensuring that everybody is in step and we've got a real problem on our hands. No wonder Java is struggling to gain ground on the desktop. Sun, please revisit this decision and let us have the same version of "Java everywhere".

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