Oracle has changed their approach to supporting older Java releases. Details of Oracle’s updated policies can be found here:
With the removal of some desktop technologies within Java after version 8, these changes significantly impact users of the Original Experience of Blackboard Collaborate.
After December 2020, users without a commercial license agreement with Oracle should remove Java 8 from their desktop in order to protect themselves from security vulnerabilities. Doing so will reduce the functionality in Collaborate Original available for those users. This includes:
- Access to administration functionality in SAS
- Utilization of the Plan and Publish applications
- Launching sessions and viewing native recordings on Linux operating systems
Launching Original sessions and viewing recordings will continue to be covered with security updates via the Collaborate Launcher on Windows and Mac operating systems.
Users of Collaborate Ultra are not impacted by the changes to Oracle’s support of Java.
Details are provided below.
Collaborate Original use of Java on Desktop Clients
For many years, Java was a cutting-edge technology that enabled cross-platform support of desktop applications. Collaborate Original relies on Java Applet technology to administer the system in SAS, and on Java Web Start technology for session launching and native recording playback. These technologies are not present in any version of Java past version 8 and are not available in any of the open-source variants. Java desktop runtimes are also required for utilizing applications such as Plan and Publish.
In order to shield many users from the requirement of installing Java on the desktop for general use, Collaborate currently supports the Collaborate Launcher, which bundles the Java runtime for use with Collaborate Original for launching sessions and viewing recordings on Windows and Mac operating systems. The Launcher does not make the runtime available for general use on the desktop, so it cannot enable support for Java Applets for SAS or provide the runtime required for Plan and Publish. (The desktop runtime is also required for session launching and recording playback on Linux.)
Oracle has announced that they will stop updating Java 8 for personal use at the end of 2020. Commercial access can be negotiated with Oracle directly to continue to receive support beyond this timeframe. Blackboard has already ensured that the Collaborate Launcher is covered under a bundled commercial license agreement with Oracle so that the Launcher can be distributed with any required security updates. We are unable to extend those security updates to general desktop use.
As a result, by January 2021, Collaborate users should remove Java 8 runtimes from their desktop systems, unless they have negotiated a commercial support agreement separately with Oracle. By doing so, users will not be able to manage their users and accounts via SAS, or utilize other Java desktop applications such as Plan or Publish.
Collaborate Ultra uses 100% Web Standards
For users of Collaborate Ultra, all user access is through web browsers and standard web APIs, including WebRTC for audio, video, and appshare access. Collaborate does not require or install any additional technologies or runtimes that allow for the possibility of any unique security vulnerabilities. To stay up-to-date with security support, users simply need keep their supported web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge) up to date.
Collaborate Ultra will continue to be unaffected by the licensing and support changes by Oracle, and we strongly recommend clients make plans to transition to Collaborate Ultra and away from Collaborate Original before Oracle drops public support for Java 8 in December 2020.