Monday, Sun Microsystems released the latest version of Java -- Java Standard Edition 6. It's available to developers in the Sun Developer Network (http://java.sun.com). The final release is planned to ship in January.
Java's taken a lot of time for this release. They've worked at it for at least 2 years, so this release is quite significant.
They've also added more Desktop APIs and web services. Another big improvement is advanced monitoring, management and diagnosing of applications. Smaller improvements include JDBD 4.0 support and LCD subpixel rendering.
With a little help from our friends at Redmond
Sun has been working with Microsoft at this one, to add increased Windows Vista support, partnering together in a project called Tango, which is a project devoted to creating a consistent user interface throughout open-source projects by using naming and style guidelines. Interestingly enough, this follows Java's plans to make Java open-source.
Sun wasn't just sitting around when they ported this, though. They had to convert an old 32-bit application environment to Vista, which includes networking, graphics, security, and a lot of other things which involve deep operating system interaction. That's why Java turned to Microsoft for help. They helped Sun better integrate the programming environment for Microsoft's next-generation operating system.
As with usual Java releases, the regular releases are completely free. If you feel so inclined, you may download it at: