Java plugin with Firefox 3.6

Ian Smith smithi at
Wed Jun 9 19:12:59 UTC 2010

In freebsd-questions Digest, Vol 314, Issue 3, Message: 22
On Mon, 7 Jun 2010 16:08:34 -0400 Jerry <freebsd.user at> wrote:
 > On Tue, 8 Jun 2010 01:13:01 +1000 (EST)
 > Ian Smith <smithi at> articulated:
 > > In freebsd-questions Digest, Vol 314, Issue 1, Message: 33
 > > On Mon, 7 Jun 2010 06:08:24 -0400 Jerry <freebsd.user at>
 > > wrote:
 > >  > On Mon, 7 Jun 2010 07:50:04 +0200
 > >  > Harry Matthiesen Jensen <freebsd at> articulated:
 > >  > 
 > >  > 
 > >  > > On Mon, Jun 07, 2010 at 12:20:08AM +0000, Márcio C.G. wrote:
 > >  > > > 
 > >  > > > As this link (
 > >  > > > says, JAVA PLUGIN WONT WORK WITH FIREFOX 3.6. I tried to use
 > >  > > > linux-sun-jdk16 port, but the plugin didn t work too. Is there
 > >  > > > an workaround or anybody that knows how-to use java plugin
 > >  > > > within firefox 3.6?
 > >  > > > 
 > >  > > 
 > >  > > I just "portinstall firefox3", which right now will give you
 > >  > > Firefox 3.5.9, and java works ;-)
 > >  > 
 > >  > The OP requested help with Firefox-3.6, not with older deprecated
 > >  > versions. Perhaps when version '4' is released, support for Java in
 > >  > '3.6.x' will become available.
 > > 
 > > Dear Jerry,

Ok, you whinged and I had a dig.  I got deservedly walloped myself not 
long ago for whining about something likely within my power to help ..

 > I honestly enjoy satire. That said, it does not change the fact that a
 > serviceable version of Java, suitable for Firefox-3.6, does not exist
 > within the FreeBSD framework. A quick investigation of other operating
 > systems would seem to indicate that FreeBSD is virtually alone in this
 > regards. Now, I am sure that you have personally seen the white sheet
 > detailing the technical reasons for this and will be willing to share
 > it with me and perhaps others who might also be curious about the lack
 > of said product.

.. so I deserve a bit of sarcasm :)  My point was that, with exception 
of projects sponsored by the Foundation and work sponsored by various 
firms that simply need to get certain things done, FreeBSD isn't like a 
company in any position to 'put some people onto' any desired features; 
things happen when someone/s put _themselves_ onto it, because they want 
to see it happen, and enjoy the challenges of practicing their arts.

Check out what Sun and indirectly Mozilla have to say about this:

    Why do I need Java 6 Update 10 and above for Firefox 3.6 and later 

    What are the features and enhancements in the latest release of Java 
    6 Update10 (6u10)?

The 'features and enhancements' seem to be mostly about making updating 
easier on Windows, and because they've _chosen_ to drop support for the 
'classic' way of identifying the JRE in use pre 3.6.0, they've _chosen_ 
to employ a level of instant obsolescence and forced upgrade that Adobe 
might be proud of.  That's a big change from 3.5.x, and one that would 
be considered an ABI change requiring a new major version in FreeBSD.

So as Chuck Swiger rightly said, if latest Firefox+Java matters to you, 
FreeBSD isn't the right solution just now .. until it matters enough to 
someone/s to make what seem likely very non-trivial changes to our Java 
and how it integrates with our kernel and userland.  Way, way beyond me.

 > Now, I assume that you are familiar with the nVidia 64 bit drivers and
 > FreeBSD. It took years for that to be rectified. Based on that past
 > experience, I feel that stating that Firefox-4 might well be released
 > before a serviceable Java is available for version 3.6+ is a real
 > possibility.

As I recall, nVidia required kernel changes in FreeBSD that had to wait 
for a major version bump (ie, to 8.x) to make it into a release version?

 > Your commentary does serve to prove a very real point however. To wit:
 > Pointing out or stating a problem with a Microsoft product is
 > insightful, constructive criticism; however, doing the same for an open
 > source product is destructive, counter productive, flame bait.

Microsoft is a company with massive resources to throw at any problems 
(or new means of cornering markets :) and people pay real money to use 
their products, so can at least hope for some sort of service on demand.

The contrast with FreeBSD couldn't be much more stark, could it Jerry?  

If you want something fixed you a) do it yourself; b) work with other 
people who are doing it; c) offer to help test and debug and/or document 
development or d) at least offer useful critique on appropriate list/s, 
knowing that 'send code' is the most likely response from busy people.

 > Seriously Ian, I question whether the FreeBSD authors are more
 > interested in bumping version numbers than they are in producing a
 > fully serviceable, quality product. When was the last time you tried
 > getting a native FreeBSD driver for an 	'N' class USB wireless
 > device? Drivers for chips over a year old don't exist. It just seems to
 > me that the priority should be on getting the present product fully
 > functional rather than simply bumping version numbers. Then again, that
 > is just my 2₵.

I'm not sure what you're meaning about 'bumping version numbers'; I find 
the pace of development of major versions pretty daunting myself these 
days - my 'hottest' programming was 20 to 40 years ago - and yet without 
that pace, all these new gadgets and drivers can't be developed to work 
within the new API/ABIs being built in -current as we speak.  That's the 
obvious tension between rapid feature development and API/ABI stability.

And I'm not sure it's very helpful thinking of FreeBSD as 'a product', 
but to paraphrase Chuck, different folks will see things differently.

cheers, Ian

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list