No. of Recommendations: 1
How should I disable Java, and what impact will it have on my machine?

I do not know how you should disable it, but one way you can do it is to remove it entirely from your system. That is a bit much, but you could always reinstall it again if you change your mind.

My distro (RHEL 6) keeps theirs up to date automatically and I just let it run because I need it to access some of the stuff at my broker's web site.

A slightly less drastic is to find the program that runs it and set the permissions to 0. Then only root could run it. And if you are smart, you never run a web browser as root anyway.

On my system, I would suggest you set either /usr/bin/java or /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.7.0-openjdk.x86_64/bin/java permission to 0. Your system may be set up differently, but that is the idea.

$ ls -l /usr/bin/java
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 22 Dec 12 21:44 /usr/bin/java -> /etc/alternatives/java
]$ ls -l /etc/alternatives/java
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 46 Dec 12 21:44 /etc/alternatives/java -> /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.7.0-openjdk.x86_64/bin/java
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