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Oracle To Retire Java Browser Plugin

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Oracle has announced it will retire the Java browser plugin. It plans to deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9 and remove the technology from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release, according to a Java Platform Group product management blog.

The announcement drew numerous comments on social media welcoming the move.

One Facebook comment read: “Good to see Oracle finally acknowledging that applets are obsolete. Although at this point, with the major browsers all removing pluginsupport, it’s rapidly becoming irrelevant what Oracle does with the Javabrowser plugin. Java should have made its exit from the browser years ago.”

PCWorld reported that the Java browser plugin has been a frequent target of attackers.

By the time that the Java Development Kit (JDK) 9 – the reference implementation of the next version of Java SE – reaches general availability in March 2017, most modern browsers will no longer accept the Java browser plugin, according to PCWorld.

Browsers Ditch Plugins

In October, Mozilla announced it plans to remove support for plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016. In September, Chrome disabled support for plug-ins that, like Silverlight and Java, use the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) standard. Microsoft’s Edge browser also does not support plug-ins.

Java image

With Safari and Internet Explorer the only browsers to continue to accept traditional NPAPI plug-ins after 2016, Oracle is basically forced into this decision, even though Chrome supports a new plug-in technology called Pepper Plug-in API (PPAPI).

The Java Platform Group product management blog said many browser vendors have recently either removed plan to remove standards-based plugin support, eliminating the ability to embed Silverlight, Flash, Java and other plugin-based technologies.

Developers Need Options

With browser vendors working to restrict plugin support in their products, developers of applications relying on the Java browser plugin have to consider alternative options.  These options include migrating from Java Applets which rely on a browser plugin to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology.

Oracle plans to deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9 and it will remove the technology from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release.

Early Access releases of JDK 9 are available for testing and download at http://jdk9.java.net.

The plugin technology will be completely removed from the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and the Oracle Java Development Kit (JDK) in a future Java release to be announced, according to an Oracle white paper. Java Web Start applications do not rely on a browser plugin so they will not be affected by these changes.

How Did We Get Here?

Java began its rise 20 years ago with a tumbling duke applet running in the HotJava browser, the Oracle white paper noted. This preceded Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Applets enabled richer development functionality through a browser plugin when browser capabilities were limited. They provided centralized distribution of applications without requiring users to install or update applications locally.

The Netscape Navigator browser popularized a standards-based plug-in model with the Netscape Plugin API. Many other browsers adopted this API, allowing plugins to extend the capabilities of browsers to provide cross-browser and cross-platform functionality.

As Java became a leading mainstream development platform, the applet’s hosts – the web browsers – did as well.

The growth of web usage on mobile browsers, usually without support for plugins, led browser makers to restrict and remove standards-based plugin support from their products.

The Oracle JRE can support applets on browsers only for as long as browser vendors provide the necessary cross-browser standards-based plugin API support.

Oracle will not provide additional browser-specific plugins since they would require application developers to write browser-specific applets for every browser they want to support. In addition, without a cross-browser API, Oracle could only offer a subset of the required functionality, which would be different from one browser to the next. This would impact both users and application developers.

Also read: Oracle does damage control on blog discussing third party bug researcher

Developers Have Alternatives

If an applet cannot convert to a Java Web Start application, developers can consider alternative approaches, the white paper noted.

The javapackager command enables developers to create stand-alone, native install bundles on Windows, OS X and Linux that don’t require a separate JRE installation. Such an option is suited for desktop applications. In such applications, a user may not have their own JRE installed and just want the program to run. It may not be appropriate for server-based applications where an administrator might want complete control of the environment.

JavaFX has a feature called WebView. This allows applications to use an embedded version of WebKit to render HTML5 content. Developers can create applications that use this browser to access remote applications. A developer could create a miniature web browser making it easier for users to launch remote applications.

Big organizations can have a large number of applications deployed and may not know which are applets to target for conversion. Administrators can use the usage tracking feature of Java Advanced Management Console to build an application inventory and identify these applications.

Administrators in organizations that deploy applications from third parties can use the Java Advanced Management Console to track Java usage within their organization, identifying Web Start, Applet, and other Java application types. Such tracking allows them to identify which Java versions are used by which applications. It also enables them to create deployment rules to manage compatibility between versions.

Images from Shutterstock and Oracle.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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3.9 stars on average, based on 8 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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Altcoins

Stellar Acquires Blockchain Startup Chain to Form Interstellar

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The commercial arm of the Stellar Development Corporation has acquired a promising blockchain startup by the name of Chain, paving the way for possibly higher enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology. The deal adds to Stellar’s credibility as one of the world’s leading blockchain companies.

Chain Acquired

Chain, a San Francisco-based startup pursuing enterprise grade adoption of blockchain technology in finance, has sold to Lightyear in an undisclosed cash agreement. Lightyear, the subsidiary of the Stellar Development Corporation, will be re-named Interstellar, according to official reports. Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s founder, will be the chief technology officer of the newly formed company, which he said should help companies build on the Stellar network. He adds:

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

Interstellar’s new CEO Adam Ludwin explained how the newly merged company will work together:

“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain is said to be a leader in the world of fin-tech, having built enterprise-grade blockchain solutions for Visa, Citigroup and Nasdaq, among others. With the merger, Interstellar will have access to Sequence, Chain’s powerful cloud solution that enables companies to monitor assets moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network.

Previously, Chain had raised more than $43 million across multiple deals. Financiers included Capital One, Citigroup, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.

XLM Price Update

Although the merger between Chain and Lightyear has not had a demonstrably positive effect on XLM’s price, the cryptocurrency continues to outperform leading assets such as Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The XLM price was down 4.4% on Tuesday but has gained 3.2% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin has declined nearly 1% over that period while Cardano has lost more than 10%. Ethereum is trading in positive territory over seven days as prices recovered from 16-month lows.

XLM, which is currently valued at $0.197, has declined roughly 12% over the past month. At current values, it has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Bitbox is the most active market for XLM traders, accounting for more than 54% of daily transactions.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 610 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Grayscale’s $6 Million Dollar Bet

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Grayscale Investments, the company behind the Bitcoin Investment Trust, has announced plans to back a little-known privacy coin by the name of Zen. The news came mere months after Grayscale put Zen on its “conviction list” of potentially high-impact cryptocurrencies.

Zen Investment Trust

On Thursday, Grayscale announced the creation of the Zen Investment Trust, which gives accredited investors direct access to the cryptocurrency. It is the eighth such fund mandated to hold just one currency, joining a list of products that include bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and Ethereum Classic.

Although the announcement came as a surprise to some crypto observers, Grayscale said the decision was based on intensive research and due diligence.

“Grayscale conducts unparalleled research and due diligence on their investment products, striving to offer regulated and professionally managed exposure to the digital currency market for institutional and accredited investors worldwide,” said Rob Viglione, Grayscale’s founder and president.

According to Fortune, Grayscale has already purchased $6.3 million worth of Zen tokens and plans to increase its holdings in the future.

Grayscale appears to be increasing its exposure to privacy-focused coins, having recently added Zcash to its list of single-currency investment funds. These assets align with Viglione’s vision of financial privacy, which he believes will be a dominant theme in the future.

Zen Token: An Introduction

Horizen, the company behind Zen token, launched in May 2017 as ZenCash before rebranding this past summer. The company has designed a platform that provides users with complete control of their digital footprint, including private chat and development features. Once scaled to full capacity, Horizen’s side-chain technology will allow anyone to develop privacy-focused applications and generate income from them. Sidechains ensure that Horizon has the bandwidth to process large volumes of transactions without running into scalability issues plaguing other cryptocurrencies.

For users, Horizen’s platform is intended to provide end-to-end encryption of their online activity. The company employs zk-SNARKs, a protocol that can prove possession of certain information without revealing that information and without any interaction between the prover and verifier. This protocol is also employed by zCash.

Valued at $82 million, Zen is currently ranked no. 72 by market capitalization, according to latest available data. Zen was down only 1% on Thursday compared with double-digit losses for the broader market. At press time, Zen was valued at $17.16, according to CoinMarketCap. Trade volumes amounted to $1.8 million, with Binance accounting for more than half the daily turnover.

There are currently less than 4.7 million ZEN tokens in circulation out of a total supply of 21 million.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 610 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Bitcoin

The Anarchist Case For Bitcoin

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Previously, we have discussed how Bitcoin receives a ton of support from libertarians because of how it works in line with many of their core principles regarding market freedoms. But there are other groups who also share principles with Bitcoin, one of them being anarchists.

Anarchists are known to generally believe in the abolition of all government with force and compulsion being ruled out of the means by which organizations are managed. By extension, crypto-anarchists use software related to Bitcoin to exchange information without affecting their privacy or political freedom.

What Bitcoin Can Do for Anarchism

Bitcoin is essentially the perfect tool to use against corruption, whether in big business or in the government. You have something that is untraceable, impossible to censor or block, and just so happens to cut out a lot of the middlemen. It is basically every beaurocrat’s nightmare.

Many people describe Bitcoin’s protocol as “trustless”, because of how it used an intelligent design to make it technically impossible to rip people off or cheat the system. This takes away the possibility of corruption and creates a world where a certain level of governance is not needed.

Cryptocurrencies are especially attractive to those who have built up a strong disdain for big banks and governments who are mostly net takers. Banks are no longer getting paid, and then there is inability of governments to figure out how to tax these assets. It isn’t easy to track the flow of funds, and sometimes money is put in the system that is never going to come out.

The Politics of Bitcoin

It is important to remember exactly why Bitcoin was invented in the first place. Although we can’t be sure of Satoshi Nakamoto political stances, the fact that he made the string for the first block of Bitcoin contain “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” is telling. It alludes to the fact that the existing institutions weren’t doing an adequate job of managing the economy.

This brings us to the second point about Bitcoin. No single institution can prop it up, and equally, no single institution can bring it down. It is an inherently populist movement that depends upon grassroots support for its survival. Of course, there are big companies like Coinbase and massive investors involved in the industry, but they don’t directly affect the longevity and function of Bitcoin.

As a standalone protocol, Bitcoin is powerless, but with the backing of a growing number of “evangelical” supporters, it has real potential to change the way business is done. By extension, the political world is going to change as a reaction to the funding and support they receive. It has been said that you can vote at the ballots, or you can vote with your money, and Bitcoin may just be the perfect means by which to put your money behind an ideal.

Granted, this is yet another reason why the price action of Bitcoin is so volatile. It is a “currency” founded on ideals and technology rather than any single economy, and as a result it is only natural that extreme booms and busts occur.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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