Finally, JDK6 Update 4 release, which has JAX-WS 2.1 and JAXB 2.1 implementation is out and available here.
What it means to you as a user:
You can use JAX-WS 2.1 (Metro 1.1) very smoothly on JDK 6 U4 and later.
Earlier releases of JDK 6 have JAX-WS 2.0 and JAXB 2.0 implementations. After the release of JDK 6 FCS, JAX-WS RI has been re-architected to perform better (infact a lot better ) and make it extensible for other technologies to be implemented using the core framework. Since the re-architecture and release of JAX-WS 2.1, JAX-WS user and developer community have been asking for the update of JAX-WS in JDK 6. Currently to use JAX-WS 2.1 on earlier JDK 6 releases, one has to use endorsed overide mechanism as explained here in detail. Using the endorsed mechanism, it has been little painful to use latest JAX-WS in applets and other scenarios. This has been the case for any evolving technology.
Since then, We have been planning to update JAX-WS in JDK 6 in Update release. It is little unusual for a major component such as JAX-WS to update its version without revving up the Java Major version. After discussions and the approval process, JAX-WS 2.1 has been integrated and tested thoroughly. This has took longer than we expected for it to come out due to unforeseen circumustances. Finally, JAX-WS 2.1 along with JAXB 2.1 is integrated in JDK 6 Update 4 release and is available for download. Rest assured, All your old web-services applications should work fine and may even perform better. JDK 6 U4 has bits based on JAX-WS 2.1.1 FCS and JAXB 2.1.1 FCS. The main change in JAX-WS API is the addition of API to support WS-Addressing 1.0. You can find the JAX-WS/JAXB changes and bug fixes that got into JDK 6 U4 here at JAX-WS change log and JAXB change log
You might also notice that OpenJDK6 still has JAX-WS 2.0. We are actively working on updating the bits in Open JDK as tracked on this bug report.
If you want to use the latest releases of JAX-WS/JAXB for other bug fixes, you can use the latest releases of JAX-WS and JAXB by putting the JAX-WS/JAXB jars in the classpath like any other Java library. So with JDK6 U4, you don't need to use the endorsed mechanism. The latest release of JAX-WS 2.1.3 has these changesand JAXB 2.1.6 has these changes
Also you might want to download Metro 1.1, which has JAX-WS 2.1.3 and Web Services Interoperability Technologies (WSIT) 1.1 that implements the WS-* specs and provides advanced Web Services support in terms of Quality of Service and Security. To use Metro 1.1 on JDK6 U4, you just have to put the Metro jars in the classpath.
Life is getting better. Isn't it?