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Java is one of the most widely used, flexible, multiplatform , object-oriented language. Hence knowing what is java and how it works is more important for any software developer, even if he is not working in a java domain. This is because, nowadays many projects are developed with J2EE technology and knowing how things work in java and the technology oriented with it is always an added advantage. And this article will help learners from scratch, to know how java programming can be done in a gnu/linux distro.

To start with, in this article we explain how java can be installed in a gnu system. This is a common article and here we are not considering any package management tools like rpm, apt etc.

Java is packaged and the developement packages are bundled into a kit named as Java Development Kit. We need to download that kit to proceed further.

Just drop into this website and download your copy of the latest j2sdk for gnu/linux platforms.

? http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/download.html

In the above link select the "The J2SE Software Development Kit (SDK)" and this J2SDK will have the JRE (runtime environment for java) bundled with it. After clicking that link, it leads to another page with a list of jdks for various platforms. Across "Linux" platform there are 2 files given, one is an RPM and another file is an executable (bin). Download the executable file. This jdk can be installed in any gnu/linux system. Ofcourse you need to accept a licence from SUN Microsystems before you start your download.

We are trying things in a type of GNU system named "Vector Linux", with the 2.6.11 kernel.

After download is over, just check the "execute" permission for the downloaded file, which in my case is "j2sdk-1_4_2_08-linux-i586.bin".

Checking the execute permissions:
?root:# ls -l
?drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 4096 2005-05-25 15:10 Trash/
?-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 36418360 2005-07-04 17:54 j2sdk-1_4_2_08-linux-i586.bin
?-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1161 2005-07-04 17:45 java_gnu

It is evident that there is no execute permission for the "j2sdk.....bin" file. We need to modify it. Just a "chmod" would solve this problem

?root:#chmod 777 j2sdk-1_4_2_08-linux-i586.bin

So, now everything is set for installing the java Development Kit in a GNU system.
We execute the jdk..bin file

?? root:#./j2sdk-1_4_2_08-linux-i586.bin

This results in producing a Licence agreement screen. Read the entire licence agreement by pressing spacebar. Finally a question is asked,

?Do you agree to the above license terms? [yes or no]

Type "yes" as answer and then proceed (do this only if you agree with those licencing terms)

Thats it, the package will be unpacked and installed. Finally you get a "Done" message.
To Check whether java files can be compiled and executed we just type "javac" in the shell. we get this..

?root:# javac
?-bash: javac: command not found?

Interesting, jdk is installed without any error, but commandline is not recognising the java compiler. yes, the reason behind this is the location where the jdk is installed is not known to the shell to search the command for execution. In other words we can say, PATH is not set right. There is an environment variable PATH. To view the current value of 'PATH'

?? root:#echo $PATH

Java Development Kit is installed in the home directory of the user, in my case it is the "/root" directory. So check out the path similar to this "/j2sdk1.4.2_08/bin" in the path that is displayed. It is not found, hence we need to append the PATH variable with the path to the java compiler. We can do this by typing the following in the shell

?root:# PATH=$PATH":/root/j2sdk1.4.2_08/bin"

Check out the content of the PATH now

root:# echo $PATH
You can find that j2sdk path is appended to the end of the path content.

Now check whether your shell identifies "javac". Type "javac" in the shell prompt.

You should get this...
root:# javac
?Usage: javac
?where possible options include:
?-g Generate all debugging info
?-g:none Generate no debugging info
?-g:{lines,vars,source} Generate only some debugging info
?-nowarn Generate no warnings
?-verbose Output messages about what the compiler is doing
?-deprecation Output source locations where deprecated APIs are used
?-classpath Specify where to find user class files
?-sourcepath Specify where to find input source files
?-bootclasspath Override location of bootstrap class files
?-extdirs Override location of installed extensions
?-d Specify where to place generated class files
?-encoding Specify character encoding used by source files
?-source Provide source compatibility with specified release
?-target Generate class files for specific VM version
?-help Print a synopsis of standard options

If you get this, things are working in our way.

Now lets write a simple java program using any of your favourite editors.

?class eg_1
? {
??? public static void main(String a[])
???? {
?????? System.out.println("Welcome to GNU World");
???? }
? }

Save the file as "eg_1.java", the file name should be same as the class name and hence we save the file that way. Now in the shell go to the location where you saved the java file.

Compiling Java Code:

root:# javac eg_1.java

If there are no errors in our code, i mean compilation errors, then we get the shell prompt. Now the file named "eg_1.class" is created. check it out using the ls command in the directory where the java file is resident.

Executing Java Code:

?root:# java eg_1
?Welcome to GNU world

Hope this article is clear, for any feedbacks please write to the webmaster[at]gnulinuxclub.org

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