Oracle will continue to bundle 'crapware' with Java
Smith also defended the practice by saying Oracle had inherited the deal when it acquired Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java, in 2010. "This is not a new business, this is not something that Oracle started," Smith said. "This is a business that Sun initiated a long time ago."
Sun had bundled third-party software with Java since at least 2005, when it offered a Google toolbar. In the following years, Sun made similar arrangements with Microsoft and Yahoo, before switching to Ask.com.
While Smith stopped far short of saying that Oracle would drop the bundling, he tried to sooth obviously ruffled feathers among the JUG community. "It's something that we are looking at and constantly evaluating whether it's worth doing," he said. "What I can say is, we hear you loud and clear. We're aware of the concerns and we're looking at what we can do moving forward."
He also declined to give the JUG leaders an explanation for the odd installation behavior of the Ask.com toolbar, even as he agreed with another caller that it was "squirrelly."
"I agree that on the surface, when you look at, it's like, 'Why is it that way?'" Smith said. "It could be that we are never able to give a satisfactory answer. But I hope at some point we can clarify what that's about and why."
But Ask.com was more forthcoming with details.
"With Java, it's true our installer waits 10 minutes before running the install process, but this to ensure the JRE [Java Runtime Environment] updates properly without additional strain on a user's computer," an Ask.com spokeswoman said in an email reply to questions Monday. "This is not intended to trick users."
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.
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