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How can a GNU/Linux machine be set up to automatically update a newer version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE)? The difficulty is wanting to use a newer version of Java (Java 7, at present) and also be reasonably up to date with bugfixes, especially security updates, without excessive manual work.

You can rely on the the O/S distribution, but they are naturally conservative and therefore provide only bug-fixed versions of an older Java version. No Java 7 on RedHat 6.

You can manually download the JRE from the Oracle website, and set your JAVA_HOME environment variable to point to it. But that is impractical when you want multiple machines across an enterprise to be updated.

Is there a practical way to, for example, use Java 7 on RedHat 6 and have the Java 7 JRE automatically (or semi automatically) updated as Oracle release bug fixes for it?

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You convince Oracle to do something sane, like put it in a yum repository. –  Michael Hampton Oct 8 '12 at 13:44
    
Or convince them to supply a public address of access without authorizing urls... (but then again, their own security issues are more important than their users :) ) –  zeroth Apr 18 '13 at 14:30
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