Sun has quietly released an alpha version of J2SE 1.5, also known as "Tiger," and developer John Zukowski is in the big top ready to start his Tiger-taming act. This new column picks up where Magic with Merlin left off, detailing the changes to the platform and providing examples for quick reference. In this first article, John shows you where to get the pre-release software and how to install it. Share your thoughts on this article with the author and other readers in the accompanying discussion forum. (You can also click Discuss at the top or bottom of the article to access the forum.)
Interested in getting started with the Software Development Kit (SDK) for the 1.5 version of the Java 2 Standard Edition, but don't know where to go? Sun appears to have quietly released the version through a special Web page at JavaLobby. But, if you don't want to be a member of JavaLobby, you can still get the very early access version. It is truly an alpha release and not ready for prime time, but it is available now, so you can play if you want to take the risk.
Downloading the alpha release
Visiting the Core Java J2SE 1.5 home (see Resources) doesn't reveal anything of this limited release from Sun. Nor does visiting the Early Access Downloads home (see Resources). In spite of a lack of information, however, you can get a copy of Tiger if you know where to look. The easiest thing to do is sign up for membership at JavaLobby (see Resources), though with the URL in hand, you aren't even required to be a JavaLobby member.
Visit JavaLobby's alpha download link and click on the Download link. If you are not a member of the Sun Developer Network, you'll need to register. Otherwise, just log in and press the Continue button. The download size is typically 30 MB to 45 MB, though the Solaris 9 SPARC platform download is under 9 MB. Locate your platform and click the appropriate download link. After saving the file locally, you can install it.