A1. What releases of Java technology are currently available? What do they contain?

The Java programming language is currently shipping from Sun Microsystems, Inc. as the Java 2 SDK and Java 2 Runtime Environment. All Sun releases of the Java 2 Platform software are available from the Java 2 Platform software home page (http://java.sun.com/j2se/).

Each release of the Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition contains:

  • Java Compiler
  • Java Virtual Machine*
  • Java Class Libraries
  • Java AppletViewer
  • Java Debugger and other tools
  • Documentation (in a separate download bundle)

To run Java 1.0 applets, use Netscape Navigator 3.x or other browsers that support Java applets. To run Java 1.1.x applets, use HotJava 1.x or Netscape Navigator 4.x or other browsers that support the newest version of the Java API.

A2.What platforms is the Java-technology software available on?

Sun provides ports of the Java 2 Platform for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Solaris-SPARC, Solaris-Intel, and Linux.

A3. Should I use the Production Release or Reference Implementation of the Solaris JDK software and JRE?

The following applies to versions prior to 1.3.0. Starting with J2SE 1.3.0, only the production release exists. There is no Solaris reference implementation.

Reference Implementation – Those who want the latest Solaris implementation of the JDK software or JRE release and do not require optimized performance can obtain the reference implementations:

The Solaris binaries are built from the same source code as the Windows version. The 1.1 reference implementations for Solaris do not include a JIT. Reference implementations are distributed as (essentially) a tar file which may be unpacked in any directory, so that root permission is not required for installation.

Production Release – In contrast, customers whose applications/applets will be released as products, and who need a Solaris JRE or JDK software with optimized performance, should use the Solaris production releases:

The production releases are based on the reference implementation of the same version number, and include a JIT compiler, additional performance tuning, and bug fixes. The production releases are installed as standard Solaris packages, which require root permission for installation.

Varying levels of technical support are available for both the Reference and Production releases through the standard Solaris support channels.

For a further overview of differences between these Solaris JDK software offerings, see JDK 1.1 for Solaris – Binary Products Overview and the FAQ for the JDK Solaris Production Release.

A4. What about a version for my favorite platform? When can I get it?

These are extremely popular and important questions. What we can currently say is:

    Amiga, NeXT, OS/2, Windows 3.1, Windows 32s, Macintosh, ...

We’ve provided our source code to make third-party ports like these possible, but we are not officially overseeing or tracking them. For more information, please check out:

Platforms Supporting Java technology (http://java.sun.com/cgi-bin/java-ports.cgi)

A5. How do I download Java technology and/or Java 2 SDK software? How do I install it?

You can get our releases either with a World Wide Web (WWW) browser or by anonymous ftp. For details, including installation instructions, visit:

The Java 2 Platform web site (http://java.sun.com/j2se/)

Choose the software you want, and go from there.

A6. Where can I find information about HotJava browser?

The current version of HotJava browser is 1.1Beta1 and is available at HotJava. This page has links to an email address for comments and to HotJava browser known bugs.

A7. How can I get started programming in the Java programming language?

See our page which can guide you in the right direction:

Getting Started with Java technology.

A8. Do I need special server software to use applets?

No. Java applets may be served by any HTTP server. On the server side they are handled the same as any other file, such as a text, image, or sound file. All the special action happens when the applet class files are interpreted on the client side by a Java technology-enabled browser, such as HotJava browser or 1.x or Netscape 3.x/4.x.

A9. Who is licensing Java technology?

See our “Who’s Licensing Java?” page:

Who’s Licensing Java?

A10. Is JavaScript technology available? How do I find out more about it?

The initial version of the JavaScript technology is available in current releases of Netscape Navigator 3.x. For more information, including a pointer to the full press release, see the Netscape JavaScript technology page:

Netscape JavaScript

A11. What are the security problems I’ve heard about JavaScript technology scripts?

JavaScript technology is a scripting language used with Netscape Navigator. There have been reports of privacy problems with JavaScript technology, and Netscape is committed to addressing those concerns. JavaScript technology cannot be used to invoke Java applets. The privacy problems reported with JavaScript technology are not present in Java applets.

A12. I can’t find the API documentation on any classes in the sun.* packages. Where is it?

The short answer is that we provide documentation only for the public classes in java.*. We do not provide documentation for sun.* because those are the Sun-specific implementation, and specifically not part of the Java technology API standard, and are therefore subject to change without notice.

In general, we don’t provide javadoc documentation for sun.* classes in order to discourage developers from writing programs that use them. For further explanation, see the next question.

However, if you must have it, the documentation for sun.* is available in the doc comments in the community source code release available separately, mentioned in question A14. For example, the doc comments for sun.net are in the source files located at:


This source code release does not include javadoc-generated documentation. You would have to generate those docs yourself using javadoc.

A13. Why developers should not write programs that call ‘sun’ packages

Java Software supports into the future only classes in java.* packages, not sun.* packages. In general, API in sun.* is subject to change at any time without notice. For more details, see the article Why Developers Should Not Write Programs That Call ‘sun’ Packages.

A14. Where can I get the Java programming language source code?

Java Software has two separate bundles of source code that you can obtain at no charge:

  • The Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition itself contains a file called src.zip that contains the source code for the public classes in the java package. Because this does not contain sun.* classes, you cannot do a complete build of the Java technology from these source files. These source files are for your information, to supplement the documentation, so you can see how Java technology works.
  • The full source code release is available from us by going to the Community Source Code Licensing web site..

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