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Debian Java FAQ.
Chapter 4 - Java Development

4.1 What full-fledged Java development platforms are available in Debian?

If you are looking for an integrated, java virtual machine, compiler and runtime environment Debian does provide them. Of course that would depend on the Debian GNU/Linux version you are using, generally speaking they would be:

It is recommended to install one of the default-jdk or default-jre meta packages which either installs OpenJDK or GCJ depending on the architecture and Debian version.

4.2 What free platforms are there and how can I contribute?

Please help one of the Free Java implementations if you want to use Java in Debian. There are a lot of projects that you can choose from:

Most free Java development is grouped under the Free Java Project.

4.3 Questions on platforms and license concerns

4.3.1 Java 5 and 6

There are binary packages available for the Java 5 and Java 6 platforms since the Debian 5.0 ('lenny') release. These packages are available in the non-free section, so you have to configure your apt sources appropriately. If you have the following in your /etc/apt/sources.list:

     deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian lenny main

you need to change it to:

     deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian lenny main contrib non-free

Once this is done and you have updated your package database. You can either install the Java development kit:

     apt-get install sun-java6-jdk

or the Java runtime environment:

     apt-get install sun-java6-jre

Similarly, you can install the Java 5 development kit:

     apt-get install sun-java5-jdk

or the Java 5 runtime environment:

     apt-get install sun-java5-jre

You might want to update the alternatives system to have Sun's tools as the default:

     update-java-alternatives -s java-6-sun

Or for java 5:

     update-java-alternatives -s java-1.5.0-sun

4.3.2 Sun's OpenJDK

Sun adopted in november 2006 the GPL license for almost all of the virtual machine and GPL v2 + the Classpath exception[1]for the class libraries and those parts of the virtual machine that expose public APIs.

As a consequence, the free OpenJDK code is available in Debian since the 5.0 (lenny) release.

You can install the Java development kit:

     apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk

or the Java runtime environment:

     apt-get install openjdk-6-jre

For more information see Free and Open Source Java.

4.4 Making Debian packages for Java programs.

4.4.1 Can the package go into main?

Yes, but only if it can be build and run with Java programs/tools in main, and if it has a Debian compliant open source license. If it needs programs from contrib or non-free, then is must go into contrib or non-free, depending on the license of the program itself.

4.4.2 Is there a good example Debian package?

There are many Debian packages of both Java applications and libraries. These may serve as an good starting point, as it can serve as an example for making a new Debian package.

A good start would be to check out the pkg-java project on Alioth: http://pkg-java.alioth.debian.org/.

Note that there are many ways to make a Debian package, making use of Ant or Makefiles does not really matter. But, some tips for good practice are given on the pkg-java page: http://pkg-java.alioth.debian.org/developers.html#rules and http://pkg-java.alioth.debian.org/building.html.

4.4.3 What tools are available to make maintaining a Java packages easier?

Both cdbs and debhelper (dh7) have support for ant scripts. There are also a number of specialized tools or build helpers. Have a look at javahelper or maven-debian-helper. gcj-jdk also has a dh_javadoc tool.

4.4.4 Linking package Javadoc to system javadoc.

The java-policy mandates that documentation must be linked with the javadoc installed on the system. This can be done by passing javadoc the "-link" argument or by using the <link> tag in ant. An example:

     # command line example of linking against system doc.
     javadoc -link /usr/share/doc/default-jdk-doc/api [other arguments]
     <!-- Ant example of linking against system doc -->
     <javadoc [attributes]>
         <link href="/usr/share/doc/default-jdk-doc/api/" />
         [other tags]

The documentation must be installed at the time the linking is done; so in the example cases above the package would need a Build-Depends or a Build-Depends-Indep on default-jdk-doc.

Here is a short list of packages that can be used for reference:

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Debian Java FAQ.

$Revision: 7831 $, $Date: 2010-12-04 20:17:15 +0000 (Sat, 04 Dec 2010) $

Torsten Werner twerner@debian.org
Niels Thykier niels@thykier.net
Javier Fernández-Sanguino Peña jfs@debian.org