Cruel Java


Heaps of praise are not what one will find being thrown at any portion of the Java programming language lately. See for instance these recent articles:

  • What Is Java, Is It Insecure, and Should I Use It? [Lifehacker]
  • Thanks, Oracle: New Java malware protection undone by old-school attack [Ars Technica]
  • Google search hijack may be a symptom of bad Java [Blog.Chron.Com]

And these were just a few cherry picked examples. No, Java is not finding itself in the good graces of tech bloggers for the time being, and I, too, have been struggling with issues I attribute to the language.

I have been trying to up my skillset in relation to XML and XSLT, and in reading the book XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 Programmer’s Reference by Michael Kay, I found myself in my own nightmarish run-in with Java. Early in the reading the author describes the software he will be using to perform exercises  and a suggested piece of software called Kernow(a Graphical Interface for XML/XSLT transformations) needs Java Runtime to operate. I did not think this would be a problem, as several weeks ago I struggled for an entire weekend to optimize Java on this machine to run the data-vis program, Mondrian.

I thought my installation of Kernow had been an immediate success, however this was not so. I had no problem getting the introductory splash graphic to load, but the program never moved beyond this static image. After getting up close and personal with the command-line for a while, cutting and pasting specific errors into Google, it seems my headaches were most properly attributed to villainous Java: thanks to it’s hodgepodge of security flaws, many of its manifestations have been yanked out of the online software libraries, and the often touted alternative “OpenJDK” with the “IcedTea” plugin, which is running on my machine seems incompatible with the Kernow software.

Once this issue was realized I began what is so far a fruitless attempt to change the OpenJDK to “Sun Java” ( Oracle Java?  Commercial Java.) and while I have no problem finding resources to address this need, these resources have not yet proved at all helpful.

EDIT: I was finally able to run the program after using the “Easy Way” method from  It seems OpenJDK was definitely the problem when attempting to run Kernow.

EDIT(2): This just takes the whole “Java is bad” credo and pushes it to the next level: (thanks to for the link!)

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