Why can't it be as easy to buy, download, and run software as it is to do the same with music? Macromedia is trying to do just that with Macromedia Central, which strives to be a better way to distribute and run software. The first release of the service, designed to gain traction among developers, tantalizes with a promising look and feel and several strong demo applications. The big picture with Central is that new "rich" applets can be downloaded, installed, and run with ease. Unlike the Java platform, which has promised roughly the same thing for years, Central does not require a large runtime download for its virtual machine. All a potential user needs is to have Macromedia's Flash player and Central installed. As with Java, Central applications run inside a protected virtual machine (referred to as a sandbox), so they have built-in security. Better yet, smaller developers can charge for their software via Yahoo! Payments.