If you want to keep adware off your Mac, it'd be a good idea to avoid installing Java, according to a new report.
If you strive to keep your Mac free of adware, a new warning suggests that you may want to forgo installing Java all together. Apparently Oracle, which makes Java, is now bundling the Ask toolbar adware with the installer, hijacking some Mac users' web browsers in the process.
Ed Bott at ZDNet reports that Oracle is bundling the Ask toolbar with its Java 8 Update 40 software for Mac. It's a new change to the Mac Java installer, though PC users have had to put up with this crap for years.
The unwelcome Ask extension shows up as part of the installer if a Mac user downloads Java 8 Update 40 for the Mac. In my tests on a Mac running that latest release of OS X, the installer added an app to the current browser, Chrome version 41. (In a separate test, I installed Java using the latest version of Safari, where it behaved in a similar fashion.)
Getting rid of the Ask toolbar is fairly straightforward, but as Bott points out, it's something that will intimidate less sophisticated Mac users.
Bottom line: Unless you absolutely need Java on your Mac, don't bother with it. And if you have to, get ready to de-adware your Mac in the process.
Update: Jason Butler has a great workaround for how to install Java from Oracle without bothering with the Ask toolbar installation. Check it out!