A Rant About Java

No software is perfect. The plethora of devices, specifications, and level of maintenance on all the various devices ensure that there will always be problems here and there with every bit of software. As a software developer, it’s really the best we can hope for that we get no feedback on some application or web experience. Because everyone just expects software to work. The only time you actually think about your internet connection is when it stops working. It’s the same with software: I only hear about some code I’ve written when it’s misbehaving.

In a way that I don’t think I’ll ever understand, even though I’ve participated in it in the past, everyone seems to love having Ford versus Chevy arguments. Rail fans argue EMD versus GE, and airplane fans argue Boeing vs Airbus. Windows vs Linux vs Mac. It’s pointless in the extreme. No one wins, and no one changes any one else’s mind… because they’re all arguing their own opinions, which aren’t based on facts.

I mention this Ford vs Chevy thing because I really dislike Java. I’ve tinkered with it in the past; I’ve tried to learn it, but I’ve never got into it. I started writing code in C, then learned C++, and eventually C# and .NET. There’s a bunch of other stuff in there too, but that’s been the major highway of my path as a software developer. Now, to be honest, I don’t dislike Java because I’m a C/C++/C#/.NET developer; I know of some people who do hate Java simply because it’s different from what they’ve learned. Ford vs Chevy, you know. No, I dislike Java because it’s a security risk to my hardware (I won’t install the Java Runtime on my personal machines).

Oracle, the company that now owns and (doesn’t) maintain Java, has an office nearby, and I’ve had the misfortune to interact with several Oracle employees on my drive to work. Based on my observations, they’re apathetic, passive aggressive, feel no particular need to be cooperative… their morale seems shot. This mentality trickles down to their products, one of which is Java. I’m not blaming Java’s woes on the people here, because I don’t know what the Oracle offices here do (I believe it’s database technical support).

But it seems to me the company culture is so bad at Oracle, it presents in symptoms like how their employees act on their way to work. Look, no one likes going to work all the time; I get that. But while you’re there, do good work. Because you’re a fraud if you don’t. And Oracle must be a miserable place to work indeed, because while I was trying to install the Java Software Developer Kit (on a work machine, not one of my own), I got this error:

path-1

path-2

I highlighted the path in the first screen shot to point out there is no semi-colon in the path. This was in a production/released download, not some nightly build, cutting edge release. And serves as one more confirmation bias as to why I don’t want to install Java on my own machines. My theory on why Java has so many security problems and is so awful is that the people maintaining it are so apathetic, no one caught this.

I agree: it could be my work machine. And the good news is, I don’t really need this for anything; I have alternative ways of doing what I wanted to do. And I don’t expect that I’ve changed the mind of anyone who freakin’ loves Java. And I’m willing to admit that I am not a fan of Java to begin with, so I probably won’t trouble shoot this. I’ll just uninstall all the Java stuff I installed for this little project/experiment and continue with my Java-free life.

To my regular readers… we’ll get back to our regularly-scheduled broadcasting tomorrow!

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2 thoughts on “A Rant About Java

  1. SnapperTrx

    Ha ha! The software package we use, Ignition, runs solely on Java runtime. I don’t have too much issue with it with the exception of this:

    THEY KEEP CHANGING THEIR INSTALL FOLDER!

    If you install a Java update improperly it installs to a new folder. So you may have had it installed in folder “java_7_0”, but after updating it moves the executable to the folder “java_7_1”. Guess what? Now Ignition is broken because it still looks for Java in the old folder. Now I have to go in and manually edit the configuration files to find the new folder. Ridiculous! Fortunately now that we have started implementing remote connections to our customers I don’t have to drive a few hours to spend 5 minutes fixing a problem.

    Reply
    1. matt Post author

      Oh, the Argh!-Factor on stuff like that (which is completely avoidable) is huge!

      How much time is wasted on stuff like this? I can’t imagine; but extrapolating my own experience… it’s an expensive problem. You’d think there’d be more of an effort to eradicate issues like this: nearly every developer I’ve ever met says they want things to work smoothly, but not even close to the same number of them actually want to put in the effort to make it happen.

      Reply

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