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What are JAVA plugins?

Java apps can be run as standalone apps on the desktop, or as apps embedded in a web page. A Java plugin is a browser plugin that enables Java apps to run in a browser window. Without that plugin, if you view a web page with an embedded Java app, the app won't run.

(Just like Flash won't run if you don't have the Flash plugin installed.)

is there any reason to or not to disable JAVA plugins in Safari Preferences?

I think it's a security risk, and should be disabled. From another post on this board:

Java was to blame for "56% of all known attacks that took advantage of vulnerabilities in software."
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