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Is Java 6 ready?

Posted by malcolmdavis on March 7, 2007 at 6:36 AM PST

As soon as Java 6 was available, I downloaded, installed, and took it for a spin. I was happy, and ready to blog about all the cool new features in Swing, or so I thought.

When I went to the site to see where my commercial users could download Java 6, I found that Java 5 was at www.java.com and not 6.

Install:

I use NullSoft for installations. During the install process, there is a check for the version of Java running on clients machine. In an ideal world, the user would already have Java 6, and if version 6 does not exist, provide the option to download and install the JRE.

Since Sun does not provide direct downloads for the JRE, or not a link that I know of, I have to redirect the user to the download site. Unfortunately, www.java.com does not contain the latest version, and there is not an absolute link to the JRE on the www.java.sun.com site.

I was left with several choices:

  1. Figure out how to include Java 6 in a download package. This is both time consuming and error prone. I would prefer the user to download the JRE, and if possible have a single version of the JRE running on their machines.
  2. Setup a JRE 6.0 download site. Place the download package on my site so that the NullSoft install can optionally download and install. [After reading the licensing, it is implied that I should not do this, but I might be wrong. The user can download Java, or Java can be included in the packaging of the product.]
  3. Go back to Java 5.

For expediency, I removed JDK 6 from my system, and went back to Java 5.

However, this issue brings up several points.

  1. Hype: If a version of Java is not ready for primetime, keep the marketing hype down. In the end, the hype only puts developers in an ill mood. Why do you think people get so angry with Microsoft?
  2. Proliferation: The idea is to get Java everywhere. Yet, Adobe’s products seem to have the latest and greatest. Scott Schram provided me some stats from his wife's site (which are not technical visitors): 100% of visitors have Flash, and 53% of them already have Flash 9.0.

Is there a problem between Java applications and specific versions of the JRE? Packaging the JRE with the product reminds me of the old Microsoft days, when developers statically linked in the DLL code because of all the issues surrounding incompatibility between different versions of the DLLs.

Thoughts?