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Update Java and Get OpenOffice for *FREE*…

October 15th, 2007 at 7:59 PM (17 years ago) by Matt Freedman

Java Update Dialog

Anyone else see the irony in this?

Here’s the story. User Account Control came up and asked if Java Update could run, I clicked allow, and Java had an update. So it plants an icon in the tray and a little balloon pops-up saying that if I update Java I can get OpenOffice for FREE. Thinking this was strange, I clicked on the icon and the above window came up.

I’m thinking “WTF??? OpenOffice is free anyways, regardless of it you update Java”. So I clicked the “More information…” link and it opened up a tab in my browser to this page. But, why is Java advertising for OpenOffice?

So, it turns out that Sun Microsystems (creators of Java) actually founded OpenOffice. I actually never noticed that (either that or I forgot).

I guess that explains why Java is advertising OpenOffice, because they’re both owned by the same company.

Although that fact that the window says “To get a FREE copy[…] click the More Information link” is a little weird. Since the product is free and you don’t need to click on that link to get it free anyways…

5 Responses to “Update Java and Get OpenOffice for *FREE*…”

  1. Brian
    Brian says:

    I’ve been reading lots of comments on this because things didn’t seem to add up. I don’t like that they did this because it set off adware / spyware / trojan flags in my brain, and it was sad for that to happen for openoffice and java. And yes it’s insanely stupid to all-caps FREE on a product that’s FREE anyway.

    Anyway I’m posting because I dug around on Sun’s site and found some stuff that I don’t see mentioned anywhere, that makes me think this is a VERY BAD development. It looks like their plan is to begin advertising on a regular basis through Java Update. Here’s an excerpt from a Sun document detailing the change requests leading to the addition of the ad. This is from “BugID 6595901″, linked below:

    “Only some of the java update bubble/dialogs text is configurable through the xml file. We’ll need to be changing these strings dynamically in the future, to promote products like OpenOffice, etc.”

    You can see the original documents in these links to Sun’s bug tracking system:

    General release notes page:

    “BugID 6595064″ which requests the advertising functionality be added.

    “BugID 6595901″ which requests that popup text be more configurable and specifically mentions the OpenOffice ad, and an ominous “etc.”

    My worry is that there won’t be enough of an uprising about this because it’s OpenOffice, and we like OpenOffice, and that other companies will start using our system tray as an advertising medium as well. Can you imagine how much it would suck if even half of the auto-update programs that run on your computer decided to use their system tray bubble privileges to advertise? We already have updates coming through that are not in our best interest. I’ve gone through dozens of dialogs for Win XP getting updates, and wanting restarts, and looked inside to find out the only thing updated was the windows authenticity checker. Is the next update popup for Java going to actually fix something new in Java, or is it just going to “update” the advertising text?

  2. Matt Freedman
    Matt Freedman says:

    Hmm, that’s quite interesting.

    If companies do start to advertise this way, I sure hope Microsoft will put their foot down, and disallow it… or something. It would be extremely to have to see advertising everytime you want to update a program…

  3. John
    John says:

    Uggg, if I wanted Open Office I’ll go get it myself, I don’t want popup messages advertising to me to become a trend. I hate the bundled software trend, so obnoxious and over zealous.

  4. proto
    proto says:

    Yup. For those who don’t know: was originally StarOffice, developed by by a company called StarDivision in the late ’90s. StarDivision was acquired by Sun Microsystems in ’99, and StarOffice was released as free software in 2000 (I think?).

    It’s always had some dependencies on Java, and seems to become more dependent with each release. Java is mostly free, but not completely. There is work being done on a completely free alternative in the works called GNU Classpath.

    What a tangled web!

  5. Brian
    Brian says:

    I can respect Java not being “completely free.” If you remember a few years back, Microsoft almost destroyed Java’s usefulness as a programming language by adding their own Windows-only extensions. Since the entire point of Java is to be cross-platform, that threatened the entire language and at the same time hurt all non-Microsoft operating systems’ ability to use the internet. The ONLY thing that saved the situation for Java, Mac and Linux was the fact that Sun maintains legal control over the language, and the Microsoft-only extensions could be declared illegal.

    If Java had been completely open, there would be no contest for Microsoft’s little “fork.” Advantages given by the Windows-only extensions would have had too many websites using them (and this DID happen at the time) and Mac and Linux machines now would not be able to browse the web without having to switch to Windows to use key sites. (Like happened back in the late 90’s and early 00’s.)

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