Chet Haase's Blog: Java on Vista: Yes, it Works:

So how did this bizarre rumor [that Java is broken on Windows Vista] originate? Well, older versions of Java do have problems on Vista, and that's what the original report was about; someone tried running some older version of Java on Vista and noted some problems. But that's like saying that your favorite XBox game, Bloody Mess X, doesn't work on XBox360.

Um, no. No it's not. Not at all. I didn't buy a new console, I installed a new OS.

Let's take a look at this, a favorite tidbit of mine from Joel Spolsky:

Jon Ross, who wrote the original version of SimCity for Windows 3.x, told me that he accidentally left a bug in SimCity where he read memory that he had just freed. Yep. It worked fine on Windows 3.x, because the memory never went anywhere. Here's the amazing part: On beta versions of Windows 95, SimCity wasn't working in testing. Microsoft tracked down the bug and added specific code to Windows 95 that looks for SimCity. If it finds SimCity running, it runs the memory allocator in a special mode that doesn't free memory right away. That's the kind of obsession with backward compatibility that made people willing to upgrade to Windows 95.

Let's face it, this is yet another example of Sun losing touch with the end user. The news, and it's not rumor, is that Grandma Betty isn't going to be able to use Limewire the second she installs Vista. It'll be broken. And MS Word won't be, I'll wager. She's not going to know to look for She barely knows where Google is.

If Sun ever wants to get serious about the desktop, they absolutely have to stop thinking like this. They just don't get it. The rumors are true, and this blog confirms it. Java doesn't work on Vista. Or, to help translate for our friend chet, Previous Java VMs/Runtimes/Whatever you're calling them today don't work for end users once they install Vista, and that means Java is broken for them. Not everyone uses Tomcat, daggummit.

Wonder if VB6 apps work on Vista? And where is the MS VM? Is it there by default, running good old Java 1.1.4? Hey, don't knock your inroads.

More from the Java blog...

The port is the key; the new system is different enough in its fundamentals that software for the older system would not just work, but had to be ported. It would be great if your game just worked. Just like it would be great if Java just happened to work on Vista with no changes. But it just didn't happen that way; the platforms are different enough that changes are necessary.

It's the same thing here; Vista is not just XP++; there are fundamentally new things about the system that makes older software break. Is all software broken? Probably not.

So much for that MS/Sun partnership. So much for Java on the desktop. So much for Netscape commoditizing the OS. ;^)

Look, most people equate platform with hardware. The hardware's the same. Other apps work. You'd better jump on MS to figure out why the old runtimes are borked, and see if you can't figure out a way to get some sort of warning to pop up when they try.

Face it, Sun. You're less important to the survival of Vista than SimCity was to Windows 95.