Atari 800 rules!
When I went to college, I was originally a Civil Engineering major. All engineering majors were required to take an "Intro to Programming" course taught in FORTRAN.
My previous BASIC exposure helped me code in circles around my classmates. It was pretty obvious then that having previous BASIC experience was a great asset.
I enjoyed my FORTRAN class so much that I decided to switch majors to computer science, where I had to take another "Intro to Programming" class, this time in Pascal. Again, previous BASIC exposure had me way ahead of my classmates.
I have always been puzzled by Dijkstra's dislike of BASIC, you could certainly notice a big difference between students who, like me, had been previously exposed to programming and those who hadn't. And back in those days, most personal computers came with a BASIC interpreter, therefore "previous exposure to programming" pretty much meant "exposure to BASIC".
The vast majority of Java jobs out there are for J2EE/Java EE, which is server side Java.
There are a gazillion Java web frameworks out there. Two of the most popular are JavaServer Faces (JSF) and Struts 1.
Struts is old, it has been around for about 10 years or so. It is not glamorous anymore, but there is so much code written in it that you pretty much cannot avoid working with it.
JSF is Sun's (Oracle's?) attempt to have a standard framework. You may read a lot of hateful posts about JSF, but personally I think it is pretty good. JSF 2.0 is awesome, but it is also very new and most companies have not adopted it yet.
Learn Enterprise Java Beans (EJB's) EJB 2.x and before was a nightmare to work on, but 3.0 and 3.1 is actually very nice.
Learn an Object Relational Mapping framework. These days Hibernate has the most mindshare. The Java Persistence API is Java EE 5/6 standard ORM tool. Newer versions of Hibernate are JPA implementations, adding their own "enhancements" that are not portable to other JPA implementations.
As a development environment, I would recommend the NetBeans/GlassFish combo for a beginner. This combination will let you focus on developing/deploying code without having to worry about application server configuration and what not.
I presume Oracle will keep at least one application server / EE environment and IDE alive.
No doubt Oracle will keep at least one app server/IDE alive, the question is, which one?
Oracle App Server, Weblogic or GlassFish?
JDeveloper or NetBeans?
GlassFish competes directly with Oracle AS, and Weblogic (which Oracle acquired through BEA's acquisition a while back).
NetBeans competes directly with Oracle's JDeveloper.
I wonder if Oracle will keep these tools around. Personally, I think Oracle would be a fool not to. The NetBeans/GlassFish combo is by far the most productive way to develop server side Java Applications.
Monty is going to have a fit.
I used to buy my Linux installation CD's from CheapBytes until I got a broadband connection in 2000.
At that point I started downloading ISO's.
I estimate I may have downloaded about 1 or 2 a year, therefore my answer was 11 to 20.
For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken