I frequently receive the question: "Is it true that Microsoft is
leaving Java support out of Windows XP?" The answer is yes, XP includes
no built-in Java support. Although this may prove somewhat of a pain
initially, it really doesn't mean that you can't properly access
Internet sites that use Java -- Internet Explorer will prompt you to
download a JVM (Java Virtual Machine).
The JVM download is 5 MB and took almost no time using a cable
connection. However, the time is significant for those using a modem to
connect to the Internet. Also, Sun is working on plans to make a JVM
download available from their site. The Sun JVM is expected to run with
any program in Windows XP, including Microsoft Internet Explorer 6. So,
users probably have little to worry about.
Interestingly enough, the whole scenario appears to have resulted from
a Sun lawsuit filed in 1997 claiming that Microsoft violated its Java
licensing contract. In a portion of this lawsuit's settlement, Sun
agreed to let Microsoft use their JVM (already four years old at that
time) for seven years. Microsoft could not use any new versions of the
JVM. In April of this year, Microsoft apparently decided to stop using
the old JVM and to not include the software in Microsoft Internet
So, let's just download the JVM and watch the legal battles.