See Knut Anders's weblog for the scoop! I was part of several major elements of the 10.6 release, and helped out with a number of smaller pieces, so I'm very pleased to see this work released. Rick, thanks a million for putting out the release!
Sadly, after I left my previous job, the new owners of the system almost immediately dumped Derby and transitioned to a Industrial Strength DBMS. Sigh. Derby was in 24x7 production use for almost 4 years at AmberPoint, and I think it did a wonderful job. But I've moved on, and they've moved on.
I still think Derby is a wonderful piece of software, and contains some of the best Java code I've seen anywhere: clearly written, efficient, well-maintained, thoroughly tested, elegant.
I'm not finding much time to spend on Derby right now; working on my mentoring projects for the Google Summer of Code is about all I have time for.
But Derby is a good project and I hope to stay connected to it, and I hope that it finds the success it deserves.