The story. In a few words, seems that Sun took notice that today Java isn't very consumer friendly, especially in the applet and downloadable programs front and they're trying to fix these issues. Particularly interesting are the Java Kernel feature which will contain only a very basic JRE and download the rest on demand (they managed to run Limewire with a 4mb JRE) and the Quickstarter feature which will, well, start the runtime faster by caching some stuff at startup time (they say they won't load a JRE at startup time though, so i'm not sure how else they will fix this - but then, if there is only a smally 4mb JRE, load time will be vastly reduced). For windows developers the use of Direct3D for simple 2D applications seems a nice addition too. Personally i also liked the new UI for Swing. It was just about time to get rid of that ugly metal theme. Still, the new "Nimbus" look doesn't look 100% right, but it's far far better than the monstrosity that metal is .