Chapter 1. Introduction

Table of Contents

1.1. Introduction to this FAQ
1.2. Location of this FAQ
1.3. Sending bugs on this FAQ
1.4. What is Java?
1.5. Where can I ask questions about Java on Debian?
1.6. Complementary information
1.7. Uncovered issues

This FAQ was started by Javier Fernández-Sanguino who on February 1st, 2000 was enough to send a message to the debian-java mailing list with the subject "How about a Debian-Java-FAQ?". Of course, since "every idea is a responsibility" he had to do this himself looking through the three month-long archive of the newborn mailing list.

The purpose of this FAQ is to be a place to look for all kinds of questions a developer or user might have regarding Java as far as Debian is concerned. It includes license issues, development packages available, and programs related to building a Free Software Java environment.

Thanks go to all the (many) contributors from the debian-java mailing list, who have made this document possible. Without their knowledge this FAQ would not be at all possible since I only have a vague knowledge of what they're talking about when I browse the list.

Special thanks go to Paul Reavis, whose previous Debian-JDK informational page I used to add more information, and who made useful suggestions to this document. Also to Peter Moulder who revised thoroughly the FAQ and provided many suggestions, to Juergen Kreileder, maintainer of Blackdown's debian packages who pointed out some mistakes, and to Egon Willighagen, who has provided quite a lot of proper patches to update its content.

This document does not address issues with other Linux distributions, or with non-Debian-specific problems.

This FAQ is published under the Debian Documentation Project at The java-policy (available at provides an HTML version for offline reading. The package version does not provide Text and PDF versions currently (if you want them please submit a bug 'wishlist' to the package). Also, the web version might be more up-to-date than the package's offline version.

Please note that this FAQ is still outdated but gets updated step by step.

Please file bug reports against the java-policy package if you find errors or have suggestions on how to improve this document. However, make sure you have read the latest online version of the english text available at before filing a bug report. Translations, if available, and the offline version in the java-policy package might be out of date.

Java is a programming language originally developed by James Gosling at Sun Microsystems (which is now a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation) and released in 1995 as a core component of Sun Microsystems' Java platform. Since May 2007, Sun/Oracle with some partners like Red Hat provide a free implementation released under the GNU GPL called OpenJDK. More information can be found at Wikipedia.

The appropriate place to ask such questions is . You can subscribe at the Debian Mailing Lists page.

Users might want to access some online sources to complement the information available in this FAQ which might be, sometimes, too out of date. The main source of information is the Java entry at the Debian's wiki.

Since Ubuntu is based on Debian, some users might find it helpful to check the tips on Installing Java on Ubuntu's wiki.

This FAQ does not describe some issues due to lack of time and/or information. If you are able to help in any of these, please, provide them to the documentation maintainer:

  • Information on how to setup a fully working Servlet engine (Application Server) using Apache and Tomcat or information on how to setup non-free application servers (such as WebSphere) in Debian.

  • Specific information targeted for non-i386 users (PowerPC users and AMD64 users), some can be found in Ubuntu's wiki.