CrashPlan PROe versus Java on OS X

We’ve recently begun changing our clients from local backup drives to CrashPlan PROe for backups. This is good. At the same time, Apple have dropped direct support for Java (which CrashPlan requires), and turned responsibility for development over to Oracle. Broadly, I think this is also good.

Since new Macs no longer ship with Java, users wanting the latest and greatest can simply download and install the SE 7 package from Oracle. CrashPlan, as of v3.3, wants SE 6. This is double-plus ungood, because once you have SE 7 installed, the Apple-provided SE 6 package will refuse to install, citing the presence of a newer version. Adding to the confusion is the fact that users with SE 6 who upgrade to SE 7 will have no problem, since installing 7 leaves 6 untouched. So the takeaways here are as follows.

  1. If a user has SE 6 installed, and upgrades to SE 7, CrashPlan will see and use the older version just fine.
  2. If a user has SE 7 installed and installs CrashPlan, the client will not operate. Resolve this by downgrading to SE 6. Open /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines, and remove the clearly-labeled 1.7 VM. Download the 1.6 installer from Apple (as of this writing, it’s 1.6.0_35), and install it. If the user needs or wants 1.7, you may subsequently install Oracle’s 1.7 package without repercussion. Then launch (or install) CrashPlan.

The long-term fix, of course, is for Code42 to update their client to recognize the 1.7 VM.

Note: This applies to OS X 10.7 and 10.8.

UPDATE: Code 42 has finally given me a formal response.

We still do not have a work-around for the issue of needing Java 6 for the CrashPlan PROe client. Our engineering team is working on getting this sorted, but, as this will require a change in code, nothing will be available until at least the the next patch release.”

Given the frequency of Java patches, I’m not sanguine about this not becoming an ongoing problem now that Oracle is providing OS X Java. We shall, I suppose, see.