Hello, I have just started learning Java (Im a complete noob with Java) for my degree and I was thinking, what is so great about Java?

Initially I thought Java wasn't all that great, just an over rated language that requires the user to download the apropriate software for it to even work. But all the new browsers have it built in allready (as far as I know) and there are no cross browser compatibility issues... When I thought about that, it was like the first sip of a cold beer after a long days work.

So what I would like to know, is what makes Java so great?

What can you do with it that you cant do with other languages?

How heavily suported is it by browsers now?

and finally, could you in theory make a stand alone Java program that you could sell on a CD, and would work on any computer?

Will be good to hear your thoughts
ro0bear