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Sun Releases Early Access Consumer JRE and Nimbus Preview

by Scott Delap on Oct 01, 2007 |
Today Sun released an early access preview of Java SE 6 Update N (formerly known as the Consumer JRE). The release notes list the following key enhancements:

  • The Deployment Toolkit takes the guess work out of determining what versions of the JRE end users have installed on their PC. It supplies Java based web applet/application deployers with a simple interface to accomplish Java detection and installation.
  • The Kernel installation mode lets first time Java users run applets and Web Start applications without waiting for the whole JRE download. While the default Kernel installation will work with existing Java applets, application developers have the ability to select libraries that should be installed with the kernel, before the rest of the JRE is installed on the end user's system.
  • For current users of Java SE, the JRE update mechanism has also been improved, using a patch-in-place mechanism that translates in a faster and more reliable update process (the patch in place mechanism will take effect for end users who upgrade from this update release or later to a new update release). As an added benefit, follow-on update releases will no longer be listed as separate items in the Windows "Add or Remove Programs" dialog.
  • A new Java update download engine provides end users with the convenience of pausing and resuming the JRE download, and relies on a more reliable download mechanism.
  • The Quick Starter feature will prefetch portions of the JRE into memory, substantially decreasing the average JRE cold start-up time (the time that it takes to launch a Java application for the first time after a fresh reboot of a PC).
  • Hardware acceleration support: Java SE 6 Update N introduces a fully hardware accelerated graphics pipeline based on the Microsoft Direct3D 9 API, translating into improved rendering of Swing applications which rely on translucency, gradients, arbitrary transformations, and other more advanced 2D operations.
  • A new cross-platform Swing look & feel, code name Nimbus, provides a nice update over 'Metal' and 'Ocean'.

Sun's Jasper Potts has more on the new Nimbus look and feel:

...it contains a decent version of the new Nimbus look and feel. You can go and download it from Java SE 6 Update N Early Access Program. Its is definitely not 100% finished yet, there are a few areas that we are still working on ... Most of these will be fixed in the next EA release or the first beta release. A few of them have been fixed in the last couple weeks, I have just been working on color theming. All colors in Nimbus are derived from a set of UIDefault colors with Hue, Saturation and Brightness offsets. This gives you reasonable control over changing the colors of the Nimbus Look and Feel.

InfoQ has provided coverage of the Consumer JRE and Nimbus earlier this year as well.

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