Sun have released Java SE 6 the latest version of Java for use in developing desktop and server applications. This isn't the GPLed version just yet as the development of version 6 just missed the boat.
NetBeans is also available as a free IDE for development. It is an excellent quality IDE which now has a C/C++ plug-in. The C/C++ plugin is a bit new so it is not perfect by any means, but has just as much potential as the Eclipse CDT project.
I am going to try out more Java programming to see how far the GUI was away from looking platform native. Hopefully, it is not too far away right now.