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How will disabling Java on my computer affect my RTI work?


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Java has been in the news a lot lately, particularly due to security problems when used within a web browser. There are many columnists and web sites recommending that you disable Java in your browser.  Several folks have asked what this means for RTI users.  There are 2 pieces of RTI software written in Java, one is affected by this and one isn't.  Keep reading to learn more...


The RTIBuilder is written in the Java programming language.  There is also a java applet viewer that is used on some websites to provide an interactive experience with the ptm form of RTI.  So, here's what this all means:


1.  For Mac Users, the security update from Apple will disable Java in all browsers on your system. It will not uninstall Java, and it will not affect any standalone software the is written in Java.  This means that it should not affect your use of the RTIBuilder software  since it is a standalone application, not running in a browser. 


2.  If you disable Java in your browser, or apply an update from Apple which does this, then you will not be able to run Java based content on the internet.  For RTI users this will mostly be seen in the use of a java ptm viewer applet that was written several years ago and is in use on a few websites, such as the HPlabs website, and the Smithsonian paper squeezes website. (both of these sites are linked from the CHI "more RTI examples" page)


If you wish to post RTI content on the web, you might want to consider making small demonstration movies (as seen here) or using one of the various ways of showing still images as discussed in the dissemination forum


I'll also note that there is work that was just funded to create a new viewer for RTI data on the web, and this project has a new forum on this site to discuss the work, get feedback, etc.  Check that out in the RTI AHRC Project (UK)


If you want to know more about the situation with Java support and security fixes, this Information Week article is pretty good, and it describes what both Oracle (the company that owns Java) is doing and what Apple is doing.  It's a bt more complicated than you might want it to be because Apple maintains an older version of Java called Java 6, while users Mac users that want to use the latest version of Java (Java 7) have to download it from the Oracle website.  For years, the only mac version of the Java software came from Apple, and was included in Apple updates, so this is a bit different than what mac users are used to.


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