Those of you who don't know about or care about Sun, Java, Java on the desktop, etc. can skip this entry.
For years I've railed about the direction Sun takes with Java. Here's an example; there are many many more, including dozens if not hundreds of Usenet postings and personal appearances at a few JavaOnes.
Now, Wal*Mart is selling cheap computers  that run the Java Desktop System . It's Linux with Java and StarOffice built-in. I'd imagine it won't run Windows programs without something like WINE. Some people will no doubt be upset to find out that that new system they just bought not only won't run Windows software, it looks a little funny and it runs all these other strange programs.
And, considering that it's from Sun, I'm going to hazard a guess that it has nothing on the Mac in the usability arena. In fact, I'd imagine that there are all manner of weird things that will bite average consumers in the ass. I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that Sun thinks regular users are going to edit or write shell scripts or know how to set permissions or a multitude of other UnixElite tasks.
That said, it's finally an opportunity to get a mass market desktop that runs an up-to-date version of Java. Even if it just took Sun nearly a decade to do it.
11/30/13 UPDATE: Links fixed:
 That was walmart . com/catalog/product_listing.gsp?cat=132690 but it doesn't work anymore.
 That was sun . com/software/javadesktopsystem/index.html, and it doesn't work either.
Miscellania · Wed, 03/31/2004 - 13:44 · Importance: 1