Q. How do I install Sun Java Development Kit (JDK) and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) under Ubuntu Linux? It appears that there are multiple JRE installed by default under Ubuntu. How do I select and use Sun JRE only? Can you explain steps required to set the environment to run java programs or apps?

A. Ubuntu Linux 7.10 has following packages from Sun:
=> sun-java6-bin : Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6


=> sun-java6-demo : Sun Java Development Kit (JDK) 6 demos

=> sun-java6-jdk : Sun Java Development Kit (JDK) 6

=> sun-java6-jre : Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6

Install Sun Java 6

To install proprietary Java, you must have the Multiverse repository enabled. Click on System > Administration > Software Source > Select Multisource > Close
Adding the Universe and Multiverse Repositories

Open a shell prompt (terminal) and type the following to install JDK and JRE:
$ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-jdk

Setup the default Java version

Ubuntu Linux comes with update-java-alternatives utility to updates all alternatives belonging to one runtime or development kit for the Java language. To select, Sun’s JVM as provided in Ubuntu 7.10, enter:
$ sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-6-sun
You also need to edit a file called /etc/jvm. This file defines the default system JVM search order. Each JVM should list their JAVA_HOME compatible directory in this file. The default system JVM is the first one available from top to bottom. Open /etc/jvm
$ sudo vi /etc/jvm
Make sure /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun is added to the top of JVM list
At the end your file should read as follows:

Save and close the file.

Setup the environment variable

You also need to setup JAVA_HOME and PATH variable. Open your $HOME/.bash_profile or /etc/profile (system wide) configuration. Open your .bash_profile file:
$ vi $HOME/.bash_profile
Append following line:
export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun
export PATH=$PATH:$JAVA_HOME/bin

Save and close the file.

Test your new JDK

Type the following command to display version:
$ java -version

java version "1.6.0_03"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_03-b05)
Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (build 1.6.0_03-b05, mixed mode) 

Try HelloWorld.java – first java program

$ vi HelloWorld.java
Append code:

public class HelloWorld {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello, World!");

Save and close the file. Compile HelloWorld.java and execute program by typing following two instructions:
$ javac HelloWorld.java
$ java HelloWorld


Hello, World!

Further readings:

  • Official Sun Java tutorial – The Java Tutorials are practical guides for programmers who want to use the Java programming language to create applications. They include hundreds of complete, working examples, and dozens of lessons. Groups of related lessons are organized into “trails”.
  • man pages java, javac

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114 comments… add one
  • Kevin Oct 17, 2011 @ 11:18

    I use an application regularly that relies on Java. Their support department insists you update to the latest and greatest version from Sun (will NOT help w/ support issues unless you are using newest Sun sanctioned version). I’m using Kubuntu, and have noticed that it is usually 1-2 versions behind (e.g. today I’m running 1.6.0-26, that is the most up-to-date version available through Apt. When I go to the Java website, it verifies I’m running 1.6.0-26, and says an update is available (0-27!))
    Is there a way to install a newer/different version of Java from Sun w/o using Apt? Can I download a tarball and configure Kubuntu to use the newer downloaded version vs. the officially sanctioned version provided through Apt?
    Thanks for the help (this has been a nagging problem since v. 0-15)

  • abbasalim Feb 13, 2013 @ 14:06

    benam khoda
    i have a problem in execute HelloWorld.class
    Error: Could not find or load main class .home.armo372.Desktop.HelloWorld
    im sorry for bad speak engelish :(

  • Ajay Singh Jun 4, 2013 @ 7:58

    while i m running my application on ubuntu 11.10 geting this error after successful compilation
    android projects$ javac AjaySingh.java //compile successfully
    android projects$ java AjaySingh //while running getting below error
    error: Class names, ‘AjaySingh’, are only accepted if annotation processing is explicitly requested
    1 error
    if someone have any answer plz reply at my email

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