Installing Java on Ubuntu or Debian

Some linux distributions (notably Debian and Ubuntu) come with a free version of Java called GIJ (from the GCJ project) pre-installed:

jturner:~$ java -version
java version "1.4.2"
gij (GNU libgcj) version 4.1.2 (Ubuntu 4.1.2-0ubuntu5)

Copyright (C) 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
jturner:~$ 

Unfortunately GCJ is incomplete, and unable to run Atlassian Java applications without problems.

The solution is to install a supported version of Java. (tick) Visit the Java download page on the Oracle web site to download a supported version of Java for your Linux distribution. Installation instructions are provided on this web site.

After doing this, make sure the correct version of Java is in use by running java -version:

jturner:~$ java -version
java version "1.6.0"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0-b105)
Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (build 1.6.0-b105, mixed mode)
jturner:~$ 

If the GCJ Java is still being used, you will need to explicitly set Linux's default Java platform to a JIRA-supported (e.g. Oracle's) Java platform as the default:

jturner:~$ sudo update-alternatives --config java

There are 2 alternatives which provide `java'.

  Selection    Alternative
-----------------------------------------------
*         1    /usr/bin/gij-wrapper-4.1
 +        2    /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/bin/java

Press enter to keep the default[*], or type selection number: 2
Using `/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/bin/java' to provide `java'.
jturner:~$ 

Setting JAVA_HOME

Some programs like Tomcat (bundled with most Atlassian products) need a JAVA_HOME variable set, so they know where Java is installed. This can be set system-wide in /etc/profile:

jturner:~$ sudo su -
Password:
root:~# cat >> /etc/profile
JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun
export JAVA_HOME
root:~# 

The variable will be set for new terminals:

jturner:~$ echo $JAVA_HOME
/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun
jturner:~$

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