We use Google Chrome browser on our home PCs. I have disabled Java on them and so far it has not been a problem. If I encounter a problem, I will use IE as our backup browser and see how this experiment goes.
Java has always seemed like a pain to me and I know it is a pain to a lot of users at work too because some sites do require Java as the ZDNet article mentions.
Given all the security issues I'm not sure why anyone would voluntarily leave it enabled.
"Indeed, as operating system vendors get better about patching their own flaws, malware authors are increasingly turning to third-party code to get their dirty work done, and Java is high on the list. In the second quarter of 2011, Kaspersky Labs researchers listed two 'Highly Critical' Java vulnerabilities in their top 10 list (six of the remaining eight entries on the list involved Adobe Flash Player). A presentation by Kaspersky’s Kurt Baumgartner at the VB2011 conference called out 'the recent explosion in prevalence of both client-side Java exploitation and Android malware development,' and in a separate October 2011 blog post, Baumgartner noted that Java exploits had taken over the #1 spot on the list."
I think we shall see if we can get along with Adobe Flash disabled also.
How big a security risk is Java? Can you really quit using it? | ZDNet