In the spirit of sharing the love, Microsoft has announced the availability of the SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver.   Now all the Java devs can get the goodness of SQL 2005.

For those of you familiar with the prior incarnation of the JDBC driver, this new release represents a very large internal Microsoft engineering effort.  Again it is a type-4 driver, which means no native code, it will install as a jar file.  It enables Java applications (including J2EE apps) on any platform to connect to SQL Server 2000 or 2005.  It is fully compliant with all the tests we could find to run against it (which was tricky).  This new version includes improvements in compliance, performance, and function, as well as support for SQL Server 2005 features such as XML. 

It's a free download.  The license says it may be deployed in production by all SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 users, on any platform, at no additional charge.  It is supported by Microsoft directly.   Requires a 1.4 JVM. 

Microsoft is working with IBM to certify this driver with WebSphere, with BEA for WebLogic, and etc.  Contact me using the button above to suggest other java-based app servers to certify with.

Update (1055am US Eastern time, 20 Jan 2006):  Here's the download page and a news article from eweek.
Update (110pm US Eastern time, 24 Jan 2006):  Here's the real link to the SQL Server 2005 JDBC driver