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Sun's Java plan: new versions in 2006, 2008

Sun Microsystems plans to release Java Standard Edition (SE) 6 at the end of this year and its sequel, Java SE 7, in early 2008.

That's according to a road map Sun published in an interview with Jean Elliott, Sun's director of Java SE marketing.

Sun has been working to build more active outside developer involvement with Java SE 6, code-named Mustang; that participation will become much more open later this year, when Sun begins releasing Java SE 6 as open-source software.

Java SE 7, code-named Dolphin, will arrive shortly after Microsoft discontinues support for its own Java virtual machine software, which triggered a massive legal battle after it was released in 1997. Sun and Microsoft buried the hatchet in 2004.