You may recall the decision by Microsoft and Sun some years ago to discontinue the Microsoft Java license. The result of that decision is that the Microsoft JVM is no longer part of any version of Windows or Internet Explorer, and customers wanting to use Java or Java applications must now download the Java install directly from Sun.
Proponents of Java argue that this results in a better quality experience because a uniform version of Java is in the market place. True. Microsoft was a notorious laggard when it came to updating rival Sun's platform on Windows.
Unfortunately, using Java on Windows Vista is a terrible experience. During the last few days, I've had the opportunity to test drive three different Java applications on Windows Vista. Setup routines are rife with security and firewall warnings, leading to dropped sessions and failed installations. The first time these applications are run, they also throw numerous security and firewall warnings, again leading the end user to believe that the installation must have failed. Eventually one can run the software, but it's only through persistance and perseverance that it's possible.
Whether it's Sun's fault, and they simply haven't tested the JVM in the Windows Vista environment, or the application vendors fault for not having tested the application in the Windows Vista environment, isn't clear to me. What is clear is that the experience of using these applications on Windows Vista is, in a word, dreadful. That's clearly not what Sun had hoped when they terminated their agreement with Microsoft.