Making sense of Java on Linux

What To Do?

The good news is that there is now an easy option for free Java on Linux: Use OpenJDK with HotSpot. This option is free as in speech and free as in beer, and it is certified compatible with Sun's usual offering. (For most purposes, it is Sun's usual offering. If you have a recent major distribution, chances are you're already running it.)

On the other hand, if you want to experiment with different Java environments, that shouldn't be too hard either. Stable packages are available for several of the JVMs described in this article.

If you want to experiment with a lesser-known JVM, particularly if it is one of the versions dating to the early 2000s or late 1990s and it was not described in this article, you probably need to roll up your sleeves. Most likely, you won't have OpenJDK available, and you might not have GNU Classpath. If the project doesn't support Classpath or OpenJDK, you might have to settle for a less than complete set of libraries. The good news is, you don't have to play around with these partial solutions unless you really want to – if you do, you probably won't mind wrangling a few Makefiles.

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