Roundup: Oracle JInitiator 1.3 Desupported for EBS Customers in July 2009
By Steven Chan (Oracle Development) on Jun 26, 2009
We've covered the impending demise of JInitiator and the certification of the native Sun Java client in many articles already. With the sun setting on Oracle Jinitiator next month, this is a good time to summarize the essentials about running Windows-based Java clients with the E-Business Suite:
- Sun's Java Runtime Engine (JRE) is certified with both EBS 11i and 12
- JInitiator 1.3 will be desupported for E-Business Suite customers at the end of July 2009
- JInitiator 1.1.8 was desupported at the end of December, 2008
- JInitiator cannot be run on Vista Desktops
If you haven't already started migrating your E-Business Suite end-users to the native Sun JRE plug-in, I'd strongly recommend that you begin this process immediately.
1. Sun's Java Runtime Engine (JRE) is Certified with EBS 11i & 12
Oracle JInitiator was originally released as a licenced version of Sun's Java client back when specific features were required to support Oracle Forms. This was particularly necessary for E-Business Suite Forms-based functionality, since the E-Business Suite pushed the envelope of what Forms and Java could do collectively from a user interface perspective.
Sun has since incorporated all of the enhancements needed to support Oracle Forms into their native Sun Java Runtime Engine plug-in. This eliminates the need for Oracle to package its own Java client just for running Oracle Forms-based applications.
To convert your E-Business Suite environment from JInitiator to the native Sun Java plug-in, see:
- Upgrading Sun J2SE (Native Plug-in) with Oracle Applications 12.0 for Windows Clients (Metalink Note 393931.1)
- Upgrading Sun J2SE (Native Plug-in) with Oracle Applications 11i for Windows Clients (Metalink Note 290807.1)
Benefits of Switching to the Sun Java Client
The elimination of Oracle JInitiator simplifies your desktop administration environment. Apps DBAs who have migrated their users to the native Sun JRE no longer have to struggle with compatibility and coexistence problems between JInitiator and other Java runtime clients on the same desktop.
Minimizing Risks of Switching from JInitiator to Sun Java Clients
The majority of customers switching from Oracle JInitiator to the Sun Java Runtime Engine have experienced minimal issues with this conversion. However, some customers have reported problems, some rather painful. Problems typically fall into the following categories:
- Missing prerequisite E-Business Suite patches or configuration steps
- Known issues, e.g. focus-related problems
- Conflicts with legacy Java-based application requirements
I strongly recommend a careful review of the Notes above, to ensure that you don't miss any prerequisites or configuration steps. We document all of the known issues in the respective Notes for Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i and 12. We also update our Notes regularly whenever we find new JRE-related compatibility issues with the E-Business Suite.
Some of you might have legacy Java-based applications that require earlier Java clients. Those legacy applications might only be certified with an old Java release like 1.4.x, and will not work with later JRE releases such as 1.5 or 1.6. Oracle doesn't have much guidance on third-party Java application compatibility, naturally, so your best option in those situations would be to lobby your legacy application vendor to upgrade their certifications to include the latest Java clients.
Sun has changed the options for handling multiple Java plug-ins through their "Classic Java Plug-in" and "Next-generation Java Plug-in" technologies. Handling your requirements for multiple Java plug-ins will vary based upon the JRE versions installed and your default corporate browsers. If you have multiple Java clients installed on the same Windows desktop, I would strongly recommend that you review the "Static vs. Non-Static Versioning and Set-Up Options" appendices in either Note 290807.1 or 393931.1.
If you're encountering issues with your EBS conversion to use the Sun Java client, you might find the following document useful:
- Diagnosing Forms Mouse Focus Problems using JRE in Release 11i (Note 760250.1)
Minimum JRE Versions Required for E-Business Suite
Apps 11i was originally certified with Oracle JInitiator to run Oracle Forms-based content. Apps 11i is now certified with the native Sun Java Runtime Engine plug-in. Apps 11i end-users can use JRE releases on either of the following version levels:
- JRE 1.5.0_13 and higher
- JRE 1.6.0_03 and higher
Apps 12 was certified only with the native Sun Java Runtime Engine. Oracle JInitiator is not certified or supported with Apps 12.
EBS Compatibility and Support for Future JRE Releases
E-Business Suite end-users can upgrade their JRE clients whenever Sun releases a new JRE release on either the 1.5 or 1.6 versions. EBS users do not need to wait for Oracle to certify new JRE 1.5 or 1.6 plug-in updates with the E-Business Suite.
2. JInitiator 1.3 will be Desupported for E-Business Suite customers at the end of July 2009
JInitiator 22.214.171.124 was the final certified version for Apps 11i.
Oracle JInitiator 1.3 was built on Sun's JDK 1.3. Sun has long-since desupported JDK 1.3, so JInitiator 1.3 must be desupported, as well. Oracle Forms Development has no plans to port JInitiator to JDK 1.4 or higher.
Support Implications for JInitiator Users
Here's what you can expect if you log an Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i Service Request against JInitiator after the respective dates shown above:
Oracle Support will help you diagnose and isolate the root cause of any compatibility issues between JInitiator and the E-Business Suite.
If there's a workaround or an existing Forms or JInitiator patch, Oracle Support will help you obtain the fix.
If the issue requires a new Forms patch and can be reproduced using the native Sun JRE plug-in, a new bug will be logged against Oracle Forms.
If the issue cannot be reproduced with the native Sun JRE client, no new Forms or JInitiator bugs will be logged.
3. JInitiator 1.1.8 was desupported at the end of December, 2008
JInitiator 126.96.36.199 was the final certified version for Apps 11i.
I know that some of you continue to run JInitiator 1.1.8 with your E-Business Suite Release 11i environments for legacy compatibility reasons. I'm afraid that the time has come for you to retire JInitiator 1.1.8. Error Correction Support for JInitiator 1.1.8 ended on December 31, 2008. In other words, the Oracle Forms group will no longer issue bug fixes via new versions of JInitiator 1.1.8.x as of December 31, 2008.
The "Support Implications for JInitiator Users" section, above, applies equally to JInitiator 1.1.8, also.
By the way, Oracle Forms Development has (somewhat inexplicably) published Metalink Note 789049.1 indicating that JInitiator will be generically supported until March 29, 2010. I can't say that I understand this, myself, but the December 2008 desupport notice for JInitiator 1.1.8 for Apps 11i clients is published in Note 472154.1.
4. JInitiator cannot be run on Vista Desktops
It's not possible to run Oracle JInitiator 1.3 on Microsoft Vista. Here's why:
- Oracle JInitiator 1.3 is based on Sun's JDK 1.3
- Sun's JDK 1.3 is incompatible with Vista.
- Sun has desupported JDK 1.3, so they have no plans to make it Vista compatible
- Therefore, JInitiator is fundamentally incompatible with Vista due to its JDK 1.3 dependencies
On Hacking Up JInitiator
Various creative individuals have discovered that it's possible to replace a certain DLL in Oracle JInitiator 1.3 with a JVM from, say, JDK 1.6. I can't personally testify that these hacks work. I can say that this kind of surgery makes me intensely uncomfortable.
While it's nice to see creative initiative, I have to remind you that Oracle would regard this as a customization. We don't recommend customizing Oracle JInitiator for production environments.
What Happens When Something Goes Wrong?
If you do choose to customize Oracle JInitiator 1.3, you should consider the support implications for your users. If you encounter any issues specific to your customized version of JInitiator, Oracle's default recommendation will be to use the native Sun JRE plug-in.
What Does Oracle Recommend for Vista?
We recommend using the native Sun Java plug-in for Vista client desktops connecting to either Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i or 12. The native JRE client is the only certified and supported Java client for E-Business Suite desktops end-users running on Microsoft Windows Vista.
Getting Support from Oracle for Your Conversion
Naturally, we're very interested in helping you get through this upgrade process with a minimum of pain. If you hit any problems with your conversion to the native Sun JRE plug-in, please log a formal Service Request via Metalink. Our Support engineers will work with you on this, and also track the underlying issues to see whether changes to our documentation or patches are warranted. If necessary, we'll work with Sun to get fixes prioritized for future JRE releases, too.
Given my position in Oracle Development and the visibility of this blog, I sometimes think that my perspective on customer deployments might be a little skewed. This blog's readers tend to be seasoned and highly-skilled Apps sysadmins and Oracle DBAs.
I'd appreciate your help in getting an accurate view of how these conversions are going for you. I'd be very interested in hearing about your experiences, good or bad. What went well? What went sideways? Please feel free to sound off in the comments or drop me a private email with more details about your migration.