Sunday, April 16, 2006

A mini-review of Java 6 beta 2

After installing the latest test release of Suse 10.1, I installed the latest build (B80) of Java 6 beta 2. I've been using Java 6 since the latter part of 2005 because it's fast and because on Linux, under Gnome, it enables sub-pixel aliasing on text. What follows are some quick and dirty screen shots of applications running under this latest Java 6 release.



The previous screenshots show a side-by-side comparison between SwingSet2 using the Java native look and feel on the left and the Gnome look and feel on the right. First the good news. This is the first build where switching to the Gnome LAF did not throw an exception. The bad news is the look after selecting Gnome. Frankly I prefer the native Java look. Not only does native Java look better, but the Gnome LAF does not follow the clean lean look that the current Gnome releases provide. This is a far cry from the Windows LAF of Java 6 under Windows. The quality of the Windows LAF under Java 6 is superb.

Ignoring the eye-candy issues, running Java 6 on Suse 10.1 on a Core Duo machine is an absolute joy. The performance of the demo applications is smooth as silk. More significantly is how NetBeans 5 runs under Java 6 on this combination of OS and hardware. From fast startup to working to shutdown, you can't tell the difference performance-wise between NetBeans and a native IDE such as KDevelop.

All of these elements, from Core Duo to the latest Linux distributions running 2.6.16 to the use of Java 6 is converging towards a sweet spot combining excellent capability, performance, and plain good looks. For developers and geeks, this is a very good time to be investing in all of these elements, especially dual-core processor machines.

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