This last year was not a good one for Java on the Mac. There were a number of malware that took advantage of several high-profile Java vulnerabilities, including several different spyware variants – most notably, Flashback. As a result, Apple ceded control of Java updates back to Oracle and disabled Java in the browser if it had not been used in over a month. From a security perspective, this all sounds like good news to me. Several other security pundits have recommended, at several points during the year, to just disable Java from the browser if at all possible.
It seems like maybe programmers are seeing which way the wind is blowing, as new figures from Tiobe Programming Community Index show Java on the decline. (And unsurprisingly, Objective-C is on the way up due to the continually-expanding popularity of iOS apps, winning the Programming Language of the Year Award!) This is kind of a relief, given all the pain Java has brought in malware-form this year, but it’s not time to bring out the noise-makers just yet.
An analysis by Wired Magazine gives reason why they believe this decline is only temporary, and that may well be right. I don’t deny Java will probably always be around to a certain degree. But I’m hoping a major overhaul happens before we see any resurgence, especially on Apple machines.