1. Why do I need Java?
  2. Help! I'm getting a Java error!
  3. Signed Applet
  4. Troubleshooting

Why do I need Java?

In order to access the simulation tools, you must have Java version 1.4 or later installed on your machine and enabled in your web browser. Note that Java is not the same as Javascript. Visit the Java website to verify which version of Java is installed on your browser. You can also upgrade to the latest release of Java. If you do not have access to install plug-ins, please contact your system administrator about installing or upgrading your Java.

Enabling Java

Even if Java is installed, you must enable its use within your browser. To do so, check your preferences menu. The option is called Enable Java and is found within the "Content" or "Advanced" menus.

Known Issues

Help! I'm getting a Java error!

Users may experience a Java error on Mac OS X if they are using Java version 1.3 and below. Please ensure your Java install is up to date.
NOTE! For gecko browsers (Mozilla, Firefox, Camino), the following may be the source of the error:

Mozilla will only use JRE 1.3.1, even if a later JRE is installed [Bug 197813]. To use a newer JRE, you will need to install the Java Embedding Plugin for Mac OS X. This plugin is beta quality software, and may have bugs and cause problems. Read the Readme before installing it.

Java for Windows, Mac OS, Solaris, and Linux can be downloaded here. Instructions for installation may also be found at that site.

Signed Applet

If you are behind a network firewall that requires you to use a web proxy with your browser, your Java environment will also need to use a proxy to connect to tool sessions. The default security manager for Java stipulates that an applet can make network connections only to the web server from which it was originally loaded. Connecting to a proxy requires additional privileges—even though the ultimate connection through the proxy is to the originating web server.

In order to empower an applet with additional privileges, it must be signed. This is a process by which a cryptographic identity is added to the applet to prove the identity of its author. The first time you load a particular signed applet, your Java virtual machine will show you a dialog similar to the following:

This dialog shows that the applet was authored by Purdue University and is confirmed by Thawte Consulting (a certificate authority that most JVM's trust). If you trust the author of this applet, you can select "Yes" to load the applet.

A signed applet can have many privileges. It can access your general window system, your computer's peripherals, and your local file system. The hub VNC applet uses additional privileges only to connect to your web proxy. The applet contains no code to perform any kind of additional access to your computer's local resources.


There are two common reasons why you may not be able to view an application.