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Respondus Lockdown Browser and Java 1.6.0_29 on Macs

Update: If you have a Mac computer, be sure to update to the latest Lockdown Browser as Respondus has issued a temporary fix until Java is fixed.

From Respondus:

An important issue has come up for Respondus LockDown Browser users who run Mac OSX with the latest release of Java (version 1.6.0_29).

The issue is that WebKit-based browsers running with Java 1.6.0_29 will crash if a Java applet is encountered. Respondus LockDown Browser relies on WebKit so it exhibits the same behavior. (Note that Chrome and other browsers based on WebKit exhibit the same problem, although Apple has modified its Safari browser to work around the issue.)

For Blackboard Learn customers, Java applets are encountered when an exam containing essay questions is started (the rich-text editor for essay questions uses Java applets). For Blackboard CE/Vista customers, a crash occurs at the login page since Java applets are used with the browser checker.

The developer community anticipates that either WebKit or Apple will resolve this issue in quick order. Unfortunately, at the moment, WebKit feels that Apple should fix the issue, while Apple feels that WebKit should provide the fix. In the meantime, however, we are doing two things:

1) We have issued a patch for the Mac edition of LockDown Browser. Once the update is applied, LockDown Browser will detect, upon startup, whether a user is running Java 1.6.0_29. If this combination is found, they will receive this message:


WARNING: Java version 1.6.0_29 detected.

This version of Java is known to be incompatible with your learning system and may cause this browser application to crash.

We recommend that you do NOT continue. As a work-around, you may consider using a different computer.

[Quit]  [Continue]


IMPORTANT: In order for users to be aware of this update, the institution’s Administrator for LockDown Browser should login to the admin area ( and select “yes” for the setting “Check for newer version of LockDown Browser” (the default setting is “no”). This will enable Mac users to receive a notice each time they start LockDown Browser that an update is available.

2) Simultaneously, we are working on a solution where our own version of WebKit will be embedded with each installation of the Mac LockDown Browser software. This will require substantial QA testing and our hope is that the issue will be resolved by WebKit or Apple before we have to resort to distributing our own WebKit.  However, given no official response on timing of the solution from either WebKit or Apple, we feel this is a prudent path to pursue.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have questions about this issue, please don’t hesitate to open a support ticket at

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