Java Specifics in Fedora for Users and Developers

This section contains information about default Java implementation in Fedora, switching between different Java runtime environments and about few useful tools which can be used during packaging/development.

Java implementation in Fedora

Fedora ships with an open-source reference implementation of Java Standard Edition 8 called OpenJDK. OpenJDK provides Java Runtime Environment for Java applications and set of development tools for Java developers.

From users point of view, java command is probably most interesting. It’s a Java application launcher which spawns Java Virtual Machine (JVM), loads specified .class file and executes its main method.

Here is an example how to run sample Java project from section 1.1.1:

$ java org/fedoraproject/helloworld/HelloWorld.class

OpenJDK provides a lot of interesting tools for Java developers:

  • javac is a Java compiler which translates source files to Java bytecode, which can be later interpreted by JVM.

  • jdb is a simple command-line debugger for Java applications.

  • javadoc is a tool for generating Javadoc documentation.

  • javap can be used for disassembling Java class files.

Switching between different Java implementations

Users and developers may want to have multiple Java environments installed at the same time. It is possible in Fedora, but only one of them can be default Java environment in system. Fedora uses alternatives for switching between different installed JREs/JDKs.

# alternatives --config java

There are 3 programs which provide 'java'.

  Selection    Command
   1           /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.5.0-gcj/bin/java
*+ 2           /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.7.0-openjdk-
   3           /usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.8.0-openjdk.x86_64/bin/java

Enter to keep the current selection[+], or type selection number:

Example above shows how to chose default Java environment. java command will then point to the Java implementation provided by given JRE.

See man alternatives for more information on how to use alternatives.

Developers may want to use Java compiler from different JDK. This can be achieved with alternatives --config javac.

Building classpath with build-classpath

Most of the Java application needs to specify classpath in order to work correctly. Fedora contains several tools which make working with classpaths easier.

build-classpath - this tool takes JAR filenames or artifact coordinates as arguments and translates them to classpath-like string. See following example:

$ build-classpath log4j junit org.ow2.asm:asm

log4j corresponds to log4j.jar stored in %{_javadir}. If the JAR file is stored in subdirectory under %{_javadir}, it’s neccessary to pass subdirectory/jarname as an argument to build-classpath. Example:

$ build-classpath httpcomponents/httpclient.jar

Building JAR repository with build-jar-repository

Another tool is build-jar-repository. It can fill specified directory with symbolic/hard links to specified JAR files.Similarly to build-classpath, JARs can be identified by their names or artifact coordintes.

$ build-jar-repository my-repo log4j httpcomponents/httpclient junit:junit
$ ls -l my-repo/
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 msrb msrb 45 Oct 29 10:39 [httpcomponents][httpclient].jar -> /usr/share/java/httpcomponents/httpclient.jar
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 msrb msrb 25 Oct 29 10:39 [junit:junit].jar -> /usr/share/java/junit.jar
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 msrb msrb 25 Oct 29 10:39 [log4j].jar -> /usr/share/java/log4j.jar

Similar command rebuild-jar-repository can be used to rebuild JAR repository previously built by build-jar-repository. See man rebuild-jar-repository for more information.

build-classpath-directory is a small tool which can be used to build classpath string from specified directory.

$ build-classpath-directory /usr/share/java/xstream