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yet another way in which Sun should get its act together

It's no secret that I appreciate (perhaps more than many) the work Sun has done is building a true multi-OS platform with Java, even as I've talked in the past about some of the shortcomings of the platform as an environment in which to deploy end-user client side apps. But what we discovered today was unbelievable.

"Discovered" here is not accurate since it was an issue that had been discussed before--I just wasn't aware of it. The problem is this: Verisign Root Certificates on many of Sun's JVMs were set to expire on Jan 7, 2004.

What this means is that any Java webstart application or Applet signed with a perfectly valid Verisign certificate might not run at all.

Let me say that again: a perfectly valid signed application might not run at all on any of the affected versions of the JDK. Not only that, they are not even sure of when this happens (note all the conditional statements). Not only that, when it fails, it fails spectacularly. The user sees a horrible warning from which they can't do anything. There is absolutely no way to run the application in that JDK, aside from Sun's "fantastic" workaround in which they suggest people should be copying updated root certificates into the certs directory.

It wasn't enough that the JWS installation process was so confusing to most end users, and that it has a few incredibly annoying bugs. No. The certificate had to be invalid. On some systems. Maybe. And when it does, there's no easy way to fix it for an end user that could not care less about root certificates (and why should we force users to even have to know what a root certificate is?).

I can't overstate how much something like this incenses me. Instead of spending so much time of creating a GTK+ compatible skin (for example), Sun should spend a little bit more time on quality control of the actual basic pieces of the JDK.

Or is that too much to ask for?

Posted by diego on March 30, 2004 at 12:45 AM

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