Funny that you say that, when the market share of Opera among browsers was more or less the same as the market share of GNU/Linux among desktop installs.
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If a Java application requires an older version of the platform, it's probably due to crappy coding (violating a precondition of some method, trusting undefined behaviour, using undocumented libraries that are not part of the standard API, etc.)
I have been developing in Java for like 12 years and I have never had any issues with backward compatibility. The closest I have had to an issue was a change to how word wrapping works in Swing text components in 1.7, which made an application look a bit uglier in that version (but fully functional).
In fact, one of the big advantages of Java IMHO is its great backwards compatibility... they take care not to break anything, stuff that was deprecated back in version 1.1 (1997) is still there and working.
As for compatibility between OSes (mentioned in some child threads), the only problems I've had in all these years were always my fault when I was a novice, on things like developing for Windows, expecting "blah.properties", creating "Blah.properties" and expecting it to work on Linux. Obviously Java can't deal with wrong assumptions by the developer, but if you don't do that kind of things, programs just work out of the box across OSes.
That said, I agree the Java update mechanism is horrendous. And that's when it works. It's pretty common for the update-system under Windows to leave you with redundant versions, and I have a win 7 machine where it just fails with an uninformative error message.
I have an HTC Desire HD since early 2011 and I'm very happy with it (in spite of not having an official upgrade to Android 4... but seriously, who cares, I haven't seen any Android 4-only app I'd like to have at the moment).
The screen is perfect, the phone is responsive, the camera is great, but above all, the default Android configuration and the Sense UI are top notch. I have tried new Sony, Samsung and LG phones and I don't like their UI half as much (Sony's is quite good, Samsung's especially crappy). HTC gets a lot of little things right that I now take for granted - for example, when I take a train, the weather widget will automatically update and show the weather for the new city if configured to do so. In the Samsung UI, I have to go to the weather app and tell it explicitly to get my new location from the GPS, which is a pain if you are constantly moving.
When I get a new phone, it's going to be HTC.
Many commenters are saying that in Windows 8 there is still a start menu, but instead of the start button you access it via the Windows key...
So what about those of us that are still sticking to our model M's?
If Windows 8 is not usabe without the Windows key, then I won't use it. I prefer changing my operating system rather than changing my keyboard.
So do Americans find the jump from the tiny cent to the relatively huge dollar inconvenient, then?
Seriously, there *is* an intermediate unit (dm), but people usually don't use it because it's not necessary. I'm 1 m 96 cm tall, if I grew 10 cm I would be 2 m 6 cm tall. Dead simple, there's no need for any intermediate unit for everyday use.
It's funny how people not using metric, but imagining what it would be like, always make up strange drawbacks that no one in countries that actually use the system has found.
They should have taken advantage of the chance to change that horrendous cone icon. I love VLC, but sometimes I install other alternatives just to get rid of that ugly icon that gives the idea that there is something broken in the files (yes, I know it can be changed, but I'm too lazy to fiddle with that and it's so 90s to mess around with icon configuration).
...what about Brooklyn, then?