Java on Fedora 8
Using java on Fedora has always been a pain in the neck. Things were no better in the old days before Fedora. The blame as I see it lies squarely with Fedora ralther than with Java.
Today for the first time since setting up my new media server with Fedora 8 a few weeks ago, I tried to use firefox on it to browse to a web page that has an applet. The applet wouldn't load and naturally I was dismayed. Then I found that with fedora 8 that's the norm rather than the exception.
When you try to load the applet, you only get to see a gray box. Because firefox now ships without the java console you can't see any errors. You can of course try installing the java console but that doesn't get you anywhere. It says java hasn't been enabled. However if you look through the preferences you will find that Java really has been enabled.
Next thing is to look in about:plugins and it will tell you that a java plug in is enabled. But it is through GCJ (yikes!!). Why do these people always try it make it harder to use linux instead of making things easier? The trouble here is not really with GCJ but the /etc/alternatives mess that is forced down our throats with it.
The plugin turns out to be something called IcedTea which I have never heard of before. Why can't these dopes just ship with Sun Java. Sure it's not open source but java is freely distributable. Wait a minute, the JDK is open source now.