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Announcing the Consumer JRE (again!)

Posted by enicholas on May 17, 2007 at 12:51 PM PDT

When Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at MacWorld, Mac fans were understandably upset that no other announcements were made. There was nary a mention of Macs, Mac OS X, or iPods -- and disgruntled fans pointed to this as evidence that Apple was ignoring these products.

A few of the saner voices in the audience took the stance that since nothing could possibly have competed with the iPhone announcement, there was no point in Apple even trying to talk about anything else until the iPhone furor died down. After seeing what happened at JavaOne, I'm inclined to agree with this particular theory.

The "iPhone effect" has struck again -- only this time it's the "JavaFX effect". We announced a bunch of exciting things at JavaOne 2007, but the news of JavaFX has inspired so much coverage and discussion that it's hard for anything else to get any press time.

The other big announcement, the one you might not have seen much (or any) coverage of, was the Consumer JRE. The Consumer JRE is a release of Java 6 targeted at making the end-user experience better, meaning smaller downloads, faster installs, better graphics performance, smoother installation, faster startup, better reliability, and a bunch of other nice enhancements.

The best part is that I've seen several references to a "rumored" Consumer JRE release. Considering that we publicly announced the Consumer JRE in front of thousands of developers, I think we can safely move this particular 'rumor' into the "confirmed" column.

In case you missed my JavaOne session about the Consumer JRE, here's what you should know:

  • The Consumer JRE will be a Java 6 update release delivered in the first half of 2008.
  • It features performance and usability enhancements geared towards easier, better, faster end-user distribution.
  • Will include the Java Technology Deployment Toolkit, a suite of technologies enabling much simpler JRE detection and installation.
  • The JRE is being modularized, so that bits and pieces of it can be downloaded as needed. In the current prototype, the download needed to support a typical Swing program is between 3 and 4MB.
  • Java Quick Start Service will pre-load portions of the JRE into the system disk cache, substantially decreasing the average start-up time.
  • A new and improved installer will streamline, simplify, and speed up the installation process.
  • Future updates will be delivered in-place -- you will no longer inadvertently end up with fifteen different versions of the JRE on your system.
  • Some of these features may be delivered sooner than others.

I'll go into more details about these specific features in the near future. But for now, at least be aware that the Consumer JRE is anything but a rumor.

Also, take note of this poll. Despite the dearth of coverage, it sounds like at least some folks caught the announcement.

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