Software tools that make it easy to learn and use Java, the high-level programming language, now will be free for schools, Sun Microsystems Inc. has announced.

For a trial period, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities can download Java development applications at Sun's web site free of charge.

Java was created to run "mini-programs"--or applets--on any kind of computer platform. Java is best-known as a language that helps makers of web sites create pages anyone using a computer can see. The applets are downloaded onto your computer's hard drive, where...

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