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The date of the public 1.0 release of Java is easy to find: January 23, 1996. But there were public Alpha and Beta releases before that, and in December 1995 Java already appeared on the list of Time Magazine's "Ten Best Products of 1995" (and I bet that earned someone in Sun's marketing team a fat bonus...).

I can't seem to find the exact dates of those alpha and beta release, though. Does anyone know these dates?

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It must have been March 23, 1995 when the first alpha version hit the public (according to this history which should mostly based on an articles published by sun).

In the first chapter they mention the third birthday of Java as March 23, 1998 and also on page 8 they mention that on the day after March 22, 1995 they announced it to the public.

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https://web.archive.org/web/19961225173659/http://sunsite.unc.edu:80/pub/sun-info/hotjava/ shows 'alpha2', the first public release, with a date of 26-Mar-95.

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    the referred page shows only "Last modified" date of the tar.z file, which makes it inconclusive - it can easily be that this file simply replaced an earlier one – gnat Jul 20 '20 at 6:44
  • Sure, but this gives a likely latest date that it was released. i.e. it's unlikely that alpha2 came out after 26-Mar-95. – Jeff Muizelaar Jul 20 '20 at 16:01
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    given that prior answer that was posted many years ago already provided a proof for an earlier date ("March 23, 1995 "), this one looks superfluous – gnat Jul 20 '20 at 16:19
  • March 23 was the date of the announcement. The linked document doesn't give a specific date for the actual release. – Jeff Muizelaar Jul 21 '20 at 18:12

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