Disabling Java in FireFox 3.6.6

20 07 2010

Yesterday I had a job interview that seemed to be moving along really well as I easily and successfully answered one technical question after another. Then the prospective employer asked me to show examples of my work on the Internet. I had to use their computer which only had one browser, FireFox but, hey, that’s a cool, open-source browser, so what did I have to fear?

Nothing makes a seriously hardcore, backend developer look more ridiculous than being unable to handle a browser. C’mon, a browser is kindergarden stuff. I was showing different web pages and then had the bright idea of browsing a page that would change its look depending on whether JAVA was enabled. I was eager to show the page minus JAVA as I had configured it to display, in that case, one of my stunning jQuery examples.

Before Firefox made the decision to make JAVA a plugin, you could click a checkbox that would toggle the availability of JAVA. I looked for that checkbox in vein, and probably should have just moved on. Instead I lingered, inquiring if perhaps they were using a customized browser installation. One of the interview panelists who up to now had been quite nice and friendly, changed his demeanor and with a steely gaze, cooly remarked that the installation was “Vanilla”

If one is more than half-mindful that JAVA has been relegated to being an optional plug-in, that knowledge appears insufficient, judging from several online answers, to intuitively suggest how one might go about disabling it. Since the checkbox option is gone, i.e. completely gone as in nowhere-to-be-found gone, one needs to go to Tools->Addons. and click Addons. A window will open, allowing you to mouse over to the plugins link which you also must click. From the resulting dropdown list, select any JAVA plugins and disable all of them. In my case, this meant disabling JAVA Deployment Toolkit 6.0.200.2 and JAVA(TM) Platform SE 6 U20 6.0.200.2. Lastly, one must restart the browser. To confirm that JAVA is indeed disabled, type the following into the location (or address) area of your browser and hit the ENTER key:

javascript: alert( navigator.javaEnabled() );

You should get a response of false.

Caveat: Be sure to disable the JAVA plugins. If you disable JAVA extensions and ignore the plugins, the JAVA will still be there and the results will likely be problematic. If you have JAVA addon extensions that are enabled, they should have no ill-effect as long as the JAVA plugins are disabled.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
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