Java in OS X in 2013

A security update pushed out by Apple January 31st, 2013, caused ROES clients (and any other Java application) to fail to launch in some versions of OS X, especially 10.6 Snow Leopard. The failure message received was "The application has requested a version of the JRE (version 1.5+) that is not installed". This sudden, unnanounced blacklist of even the most current Java versions caused issues at major corporations around the globe, many whom still had 10.6 Snow Leopard running as their company standard (studies listed Snow Leopard as nearly 30% of the OS X versions connected to the Internet at that time).

In response, on February 1st, Oracle announced emergency updates for Java 6 and 7 for Windows and Java 7 for OS X 10.7 and 10.8. In an unexpected development, late on February 1st Apple also released an update to Java 6, listed as update 39 (which matched the latest Oracle Java 6 edition), for the crippled 10.6 Snow Leopard systems.

Since this time, Apple and Oracle have seemed to work more closely together in keeping Java updated across all OS X platforms - Oracle handling Java 7 for OS X editions 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion (along with Java 6 and 7 updates for Windows), and Apple handling Java 6 updates for 10.6 Snow Leopard (almost co-releasing with Oracle's Java 6 patches on Windows). Java 6's end of life/support was supposed to be February 2013, however given the number of existing exploits and continuing attempts at new ones by hackers, it is still receiving security patches from Oracle (and Apple receives these, adjusts them and releases them for Snow Leopard).

The biggest obstacle now facing 10.6 Snow Leopard systems now is that the Xprotect malware protection utility built into OS X will be updated to block all but the most current editions of Java (and as we learned from the Jan. 31st event, sometimes even the latest, too). It is extremely important to run Software Updates when prompted in 10.6 now to ensure the latest Java is delivered and installed BEFORE it gets blocked. Systems with 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion will generally get a prompt from Java 7 on their systems that an update is available and strongly recommended to be installed as soon as possible.

SoftWorks Systems, Inc. is constantly monitoring these issues for ROES users and looking into alternative methods of ensuring ROES launches in OS X, and we'll refresh this page as updates occur or new issues arise.