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Oracle Reinstates Free Time Zone Updates For Java 7

timothy posted about a year ago | from the mistakes-were-made dept.

Java 61

twofishy writes "The internet has been buzzing this week with the news that Oracle has ceased to provide free time zone updates outside of the standard JDK release cycle. However, at the end of yesterday the firm appeared to have a change of heart. 'We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date. TZUpdater was made unavailable on March 8 as part of the End of Public Updates for JDK 6, and as soon as we learned that this affected JDK 7 users we initiated the process of making it available for JDK 7 again.'"

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Just waiting (-1, Offtopic)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43974347)

for the first anti-Java rant. Just waitin'....

Re:Just waiting (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43974477)

for the first anti-Java rant. Just waitin'....

I have nothing against Java(though the sandbox they use to try to make the JVM safe enough to do web applets in is a total clusterfuck); but this doesn't exactly raise my confidence in Oracle's wise stewardship of the platform...

"So, um, guys, we accidentally deprecated the tool that is required to keep timekeeping functions working properly in our latest JVM release, because we apparently didn't realize that it was still necessary and were just deprecating stuff related to release N-1 more or less at random! Sorry about that. We'll consider checking for interactions next time."

Re:Just waiting (3, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43974943)

Companies make bad decisions all the time. The real question is: would they back off and reinstate the previous state of things? In this case, whether it was intentional or a mistake is less relevant; public backlash prompted them to reconsider (or realize the mistake) and the outcome is eventually positive. Did they lie about what happened? i don't know and frankly I don't care. All I care for is what the outcome is.

Re:Just waiting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43975199)

All I care for is what the outcome is.

While getting a desirable outcome is great, there is also something to be said for not having to call out bullshit again and again. Not saying that this situation qualifies, only that in general, the idea of caring about the reason for a decision makes sense.

Re:Just waiting (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#43979951)

Companies make bad decisions all the time. The real question is: would they back off and reinstate the previous state of things? In this case, whether it was intentional or a mistake is less relevant; public backlash prompted them to reconsider (or realize the mistake) and the outcome is eventually positive.

That's great..... So, when will HP reinstate OpenVMS? :)

Re:Just waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43975773)

They deprecated a tool that was designed to upgrade the timezone database in an existing VM. It's a useful tool, no doubt, but it wasn't required to do timekeeping correctly because you could always download the newest JVM and install that instead.

Re:Just waiting (1)

kbg (241421) | about a year ago | (#43976483)

You can't just upgrade the JVM on live production server just to update the timezone database. You have to go through rigorous testing to make sure the new JVM behaves correctly for older code. Updating the timezone database is a much simpler concept.

Re:Just waiting (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#43976881)

Actually, against all expectations, IMHO Oracle has done a great job at getting Java back to speed. We have something like regular release dates now, JavaFX has been turned into something exciting and usable, the community is being greatly involved, there is a nice, well-made newsletter, the Javadoc has been given a much needed facelift, security is being taken seriously... stuff is happening. It seems to me that Oracle is investing more resources into Java than Sun ever could.

Re:Just waiting (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#43977627)

I'm not sure that Java requires regular release dates at this stage. While I don't mind additions, I do mind compatibility breaking changes in core functionality. I can ignore additions after all. I'd rather have a solid core with supporting libraries released to that core.

Re:Just waiting (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#43982567)

Well then Java should suit you just fine. Java never implements compatibility breaking changes in core functionality. This is why we have half-assed generics after all.

Re:Just waiting (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year ago | (#43983519)

It actually did with JDK6 at least IIRC. java.sql.xx packages changed interfaces to the extent that old code wouldn't compile. Another is the changed NIO in JDK7. Also the JMX code in JDK 1.2 compared with prior releases. Those are the first ones off the top of my head, and yes, those were all components under development, except for the SQL packages. The JMX component is actually interesting because it was first released as an add on library.

And I agree that generics are less than they might have been. I'm still at a loss why additional metadata dealing with generics properly at runtime wasn't included, which would have made generics fully fleshed out. Yes, I've run into this problem and had to resort to some interesting reflection code to resolve it. If there had only been that 1 piece of metadata, it would have been so much easier. But, it's better have what is there than not have anything at all.

Re:Just waiting (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | about a year ago | (#43975447)

How the fuck is the parent offtopic?

Re:Just waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43977357)

Thanks, Oracle. Java is safe as houses and not at all prone to confusing versions and acronyms when trying to understand what the fuck it is I need to download so I can have this cat face application running on my computer. Is that everything? By jimminy, no way! Java is now controlled by Oracle, and with that comes an eternal assurance that they won't pull a bait and switch to fund Larry's next boat.

Gods bless you, Ellison. Gods fucking bless you!

See? (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#43974357)

All you people who think Oracle is the embodiment of evil and Larry Ellison is the devil incarnate are... ...absolutely right.

ORACLE (4, Funny)

intellitech (1912116) | about a year ago | (#43974439)

One Raging Asshole Called Larry Ellison.

Lehk228 had it spot on. They tried to get away with it, and failed. Unfortunately, they usually get away with it.

Fuck Oracle.

Re:ORACLE (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about a year ago | (#43976747)

Fuck Oracle.

Fuck O.R.A.C.L.E.?

In other words, Larry Ellison can go fuck himself?

I wouldn't be surprised if he married himself.

Re:ORACLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43978669)

ORACLE. Our Rubbish Architectures Cost Large Enterprises.

Re:ORACLE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43978591)

ORACLE = Only Rewards AirCraft (to) Larry Ellison. Or Overpriced Rubbish Always Cripples Lingering Enterprises.

Re:See? (1)

no-body (127863) | about a year ago | (#43976401)

All you people who think Oracle is the embodiment of evil and Larry Ellison is the devil incarnate are... ...absolutely right.

There is a more understandable name for it - psychopathy (renamed to ASPD) - actually many so-called or driven to "leaders" fall into that category.

Nothing new actually - eventually they will die like everyone else and maybe then realize the futility of their efforts - or not...

Re:See? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976951)

NoNONO You are all wrong...
Uncle Larry is one of the archangels (probably Gabriel) fighting the REAL Evil Empire in Redmond.

pissed off (3)

udachny (2454394) | about a year ago | (#43974381)

Oracle is really getting on my nerves. Of-course this has been the case for the last 5 years or so, but now it's especially egregious.

Obviously they can't handle Java, they just don't know what to do with it. Suggestion: pull your heads out of your asses and if you can't handle this asset, give it up. Sell it or hand it over to Apache foundation, whatever. The more you DO the worse you LOOK because you are dumbshits.

Re:pissed off (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43975637)

Obviously they can't handle Java, they just don't know what to do with it. Suggestion: pull your heads out of your asses and if you can't handle this asset, give it up. Sell it or hand it over to Apache foundation, whatever. The more you DO the worse you LOOK because you are dumbshits.

They don't care about Java, just the underlying patents. The only reason Oracle bought Sun was so they could use their patents to hassle Google and other companies.

Re:pissed off (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year ago | (#43977045)

And the patents are useless now. So why not sell Java for somebody that can keep its value, instead of using all their energy to depreciate it?

Damage control (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43974393)

"Turn on the damage control. Quick"

Updates (4, Interesting)

LizardKing (5245) | about a year ago | (#43974397)

We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date

Then provide bloody YUM and APT repos for easy upgrading on RedHat, CentOS and Debian based systems. Even Adobe can manage that for the poxy Flash plugin.

Re:Updates (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43974577)

flashplugin-nonfree.deb is actually just a set of wrapper scripts that downloads Flash from Adobe's site, not a proper Flash install package as such. Adobe is so dreadful that they won't even let you download the .msi(for the platform they actually care about) without signing some stupid 'redistribution agreement' and going through a(trivial) approval process to get the magic URL...

Re:Updates (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43975771)

Do they just not like debian? On my laptop:

[~]$ rpm -q flash-plugin
flash-plugin-11.2.202.285-release.x86_64
 
[~]$ rpm -q --filesbypkg flash-plugin
flash-plugin /usr/bin/flash-player-properties
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/flash-plugin
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/LICENSE
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/README
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/homecleanup
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/libflashplayer.so
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/flash-plugin/setup
flash-plugin /usr/lib64/kde4/kcm_adobe_flash_player.so
flash-plugin /usr/share/applications/flash-player-properties.desktop
flash-plugin /usr/share/doc/flash-plugin-11.2.202.285
flash-plugin /usr/share/doc/flash-plugin-11.2.202.285/readme.txt
flash-plugin /usr/share/icons/hicolor/16x16/apps/flash-player-properties.png
flash-plugin /usr/share/icons/hicolor/22x22/apps/flash-player-properties.png
flash-plugin /usr/share/icons/hicolor/24x24/apps/flash-player-properties.png
flash-plugin /usr/share/icons/hicolor/32x32/apps/flash-player-properties.png
flash-plugin /usr/share/icons/hicolor/48x48/apps/flash-player-properties.png
flash-plugin /usr/share/kde4/services/kcm_adobe_flash_player.desktop
 
[~]$ cat /etc/yum.repos.d/adobe-linux-x86_64.repo
[adobe-linux-x86_64]
name=Adobe Systems Incorporated
baseurl=http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/linux/x86_64/
enabled=1
gpgcheck=1
gpgkey=file:///etc/pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-adobe-linux

Re:Updates (2)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#43979117)

See discussion on debian.legal here [debian.org] for detail, but the general gist is that Adobe recently changed their terms; the package you link was released after that change, but debian tends to value stability more than most other Linux distros and therefore does not yet include a version of flash that dates from after the change in licensing terms.

Adobe also grant redistribution permission to named organisations, which may have allowed some Linux distros to include it previously, but debian is unable/reluctant to do so primarily due to its distributed nature (unlike, say, red hat or ubuntu, debian is not released by a corporation that could enter into a contract with Adobe).

Re:Updates (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43985111)

But look at the repo definition:

baseurl=http://linuxdownload.adobe.com/linux/x86_64/

This isn't redistribution.

Re:Updates (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#43985435)

Ah, I see.

Yes, in that case, they just don't like debian. Just like Oracle don't, which is why if you want to run most Oracle server products you really need RHEL or at the very least centos. Same with many other commercial vendors who support Linux (random example, which just happens to be the latest commercial software I acquired [altera.com] ).

Re:Updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43980231)

They do. They're collaborating with Red Hat to publish OpenJDK, which replaced the Sun licensed nasty bits that prevented open source publication, and it's available for all the Red Hat based distributions. Switch now!!!!

Translation... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43974453)

"as soon as we learned that this affected JDK 7 users we initiated the process of making it available for JDK 7 again."

Translation: we bought this thing, but we don't know how it works.

Re:Translation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43974585)

"as soon as we learned that this affected JDK 7 users we initiated the process of making it available for JDK 7 again."

Translation: we bought this thing, but we don't know how it works.

Hm... maybe my translation's a bit off, but I translated that as "incidentally, we're announcing JDK 8 in a couple days".

Re:Translation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976279)

I think a more appropriate translation would be "Aww shucks, you noticed. I guess we'll put it back then."

Re:Translation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976299)

Translation: we bought this thing, but we don't know how it works.

Applies to lots of things they bought. Acquired MySQL and acquired GoldenGate. But the dev team currently responsible for goldengate (and notably the mysql interface for it) seems to be lost, both in terms of code function, code base itself, and/or process to fix issues -- we've had patches and point-releases adding regressive behavior to things that were in our terms of purchase. Don't get us started on the clusterfark that is their support wing either, couple of really bright people, but lots of dim bulbs, and none of them share info about customer history very well. A lot of support queries have the flavor of "well on Oracle you'd do $X to fix it ... you'll have to translate that to MySQL on your own. stop bothering us."

non-issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43974503)

Does anybody actually use java.util.Calendar or the bundled timezones? What a piece of work the built-in time stuff is. I just use Joda-Time which in turn uses the Olson database.

In b4 troll about applets being dead. Turns out Java and its open-source ecosystem is very good for server stuff.

Re:non-issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43974797)

I work on a project that uses not only java.util.Calendar/java.util.Date, but custom date/time classes to work around the idiosyncrasies of the built-in Calendar/Date classes.

Needless to say, I've told everyone that Calendar/Date classes have to go, along with the custom date/time classes, in favor of JodaTime. 100 usage instances down, 5000 more to go...

backpedaling (5, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about a year ago | (#43974631)

"'We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date."

Bullshit.

Re:backpedaling (1)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | about a year ago | (#43974897)

Precisely.They backpedaled so fast that they are now tripping over their own feet-and lying tongues.

Re:backpedaling (1)

AndyCater (726464) | about a year ago | (#43976761)

I don't have a business support contract with Oracle - I don't actually have any obviously Oracle products here at the moment.

If I _DID_ have a business support contract with Oracle for any product, I think thiis would persuade me that my money was wasted: this sort of little thing drags down a big business reputation. Oracle may have fantastic databases, middleware, people management software, hardware, Linux OS, Java - in rough order of importance to Oracle - but this shows that they can't be trusted to do well with small things.I'd trust their lawyers to draft a good contract, favourable to them but I can't trust them to know their own products, own codebase or even what they have to do with them.

Run, don't walk away from Oracle products as fast as you practicably can or find someone else to support them for you at added cost to you since you can't rely on Oracle and produce a backout plan to move your business away from Oracle dependence immediately.

Review? What's that? (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43975045)

Seriously, they have nobody reviewing these things? That scares me more than the idea that it was deliberate.

Meanwhile, what I want isn't actually tzupdater. What I want's a tool that'll automatically pull down, compile and install the latest tzdata package from IANA into all JRE/JDK installations in the standard locations. The compile and install parts are already there, just need the download part and a search for folders to install in.

Re:Review? What's that? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | about a year ago | (#43977695)

sadly, I agree.

The original post [slashdot.org] about it referred to a page regarding Java6 (which I understand if Oracle wants to EoL it to force most to go with Java7).

Also, from the looks, that original link in that post no longer refers to TZUpdater for Java6 being discontinued but rather says that it is for Java7:
http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/tzupdater-download-513681.html [oracle.com]
Oh English...better to say what it is for than to say what it is not for, especially after it gets slashdotted.

Re:Review? What's that? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#43982973)

As near as I can tell, what happened is:

  • Java 6 is EOL'd.
  • Someone was assigned to go through and clean up all the loose ends from Java 6, move them away from public access and into the paid-support area. Reasonable, J6 isn't supported and people should be discouraged from depending on it.
  • tzupdater is listed under Java 6, so got flagged for cleanup.
  • Nobody twigged to the fact that tzupdater, while listed under J6, is actually version-agnostic and applies to Java 5 through 7 (they all use the same format for zoneinfo files, the format output by javazic).

I've had this happen many times at work. We'll have something created for one purpose, and as time goes by it gets used for other things. It's use is documented in the records for those other things, but the original documentation never gets updated. Eventually the original project becomes obsolete and gets removed, and people go by it's documentation to decide what related things should be removed along with it. Zany hijinks ensue. Which is why I always push for a second review of things like that, with an emphasis on searching all the code for the references people don't think exist that really do. Paranoia: it's not the law, it's just a good idea.

In before Joda Time Comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43975087)

Joda Time is included as part of JDK 8, see: see http://openjdk.java.net/projects/jdk8/features#150

That is Joda Time.

Re:In before Joda Time Comments (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43996629)

Yoda time this is.

I am altering the deal, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43976109)

pray I don’t alter it any further.

Dumb question: (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year ago | (#43976613)

Why does Java need its own tzdata instead of using what the OS provides?

Re:Dumb question: (3, Informative)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about a year ago | (#43976933)

So that the Java Calendar objects provide consistent(ly bad) behavior across all platforms.

Not really a dumb question, just have to understand that's a design goal for Java: to abstract away anything platform specific.

Re:Dumb question: (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#43977205)

Because not all OSs provide the time zone data in the same format... Take Windows for example, how do you get at the time zone data on that platform? (not just the current time zone as set under "date and time" but all the time zone data and settings including historical information)

Re:Dumb question: (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43981295)

Take Windows for example, how do you get at the time zone data on that platform? (not just the current time zone as set under "date and time" but all the time zone data and settings including historical information)

By developing OS-specific ways to retrieve that information? They already do this for plenty of others things (most low level APIs).

Never intended.... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#43979971)

We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date.

But you, Oracle, WILL intend in the future. Just like you intend today for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 6 AND JRE6 up to date.

Even though most Java software is probably built against JRE6, and incompatible with JRE7.

JDK7 is still just a way of pressuring a lot of people to pay for a support contract, because they need their critical security fixes for JRE6, to keep running their applications.

The future of Java is already uncertain... sure, new programs are being developed for JDK7 and newer, but there will be legacy software for decades to come.

You can't just deprecate a bloody programming language and all the software written in it, in the same way, you can obsolete an operating system.

Re:Never intended.... (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43981315)

Even though most Java software is probably built against JRE6, and incompatible with JRE7.

Java 6 bytecode runs perfectly fine on JRE7

JDK7 is still just a way of pressuring a lot of people to pay for a support contract, because they need their critical security fixes for JRE6, to keep running their applications.

Support contract? Updates for the JDK are freeware, and the there's always OpenJDK.

Re:Never intended.... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about a year ago | (#43981353)

Java 6 bytecode runs perfectly fine on JRE7

The APIs differ sufficiently that a non-trivial app legacy built for JRE 6 cannot be run on JRE 7.

They may be compatible in theory, but not in practice; not by a long shot.

Support contract? Updates for the JDK are freeware, and the there's always OpenJDK.

The older JRE is "EOL" entirely; no new security updates or other fixes are released to the public, BUT if you have a support contract for your older Java software, you still do get the fixes and updates.

Java, si, Oracle, no.. (1)

h8sg8s (559966) | about a year ago | (#43980001)

Java is (to me) a neutral issue. What's truly alarming is Oracle's treating of every ecosystem it comes upon as gold to be mined. Not *everything* in the world is a Larry Ellison piggy bank.

Java is a dead language (1)

elabs (2539572) | about a year ago | (#43981601)

Just let it go. C#, C++, Javascript and Objective-C are the future.

Re:Java is a dead language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43985295)

The languages you have mentioned are nowhere near to the Java ecosystem in build systems, IDEs, libraries, application servers, runtime performance, multi-platform capabilities...eh, never mind, go use them.

'We never intended (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43987835)

'We never intended for a support contract to be required to keep JDK 7 up to date."

'We never intended so much backlash to draw attention to our abusive business practices." FTFY

ironic captcha: "forcibly"

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