Trust me on this when I say this is a HUGE development!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Sun's "Java Desktop System" (JDS) it is a desktop layer which, until now, ran on Sun's version of SuSE Linux, Sun's Solaris operating system or their SunRay thin client OS. The JDS is based on the Gnome Linux desktop with heavy dependence on Sun's Java programming language.
Unlike a Linux distribution, the JDS contains only one application for any given purpose. It thus presents a rather less confusing set of choices to the user, in much the same manner as Windows or the Mac OS X do. To a corporate IT department, this is very attractive because they do not have to support a lot of duplicate application nor strip them out of a distro before turning the machine over to the user. And now Sun has freed it to be shipped with any Linux distribution.
I am not really a fan of Gnome, though the most damning criticism I can level at it is that it doesn't really suit me as a user. And I have to say it does suit a lot of users. It's a personal preference thing and no more than that. In my opinion, the JDS version of Gnome is the best, most usable desktop around, period! I ran it here for a while and would have kept it had it supported the hardware I needed it to. I also have several friends and one business with which I am assocaited using it They won't use anything else, so this development is good for them. In fact; I think it's good for all of us.
The article above has screenshots and if you get really curious, you can find information on the JDS at Sun's web site and several Linux sites, including LinuxQuestions.org.