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How can we set JAVA_HOME environment variable for OpenJDK?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 33 down vote accepted

You can set your JAVA_HOME in /etc/profile as Petronilla Escarabajo suggests. But the preferred location for JAVA_HOME or any system variable is /etc/environment.

Open /etc/environment in any text editor like nano or gedit and add the following

JAVA_HOME="/usr/lib/jvm/open-jdk" (java path could be different)

Use source to load the variables, by running this command:

source /etc/environment

Then check the variable, by running this command:

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I'm getting: JDK Required: 'tools.jar' seems to be not in IDEA classpath. Please ensure JAVA_HOME points to JDK rather than JRE. –  advocate Mar 21 '14 at 21:31
@advocate - You should probably post your own question for that. But the clue is in the message; you need to point at a JDK not a JRE. –  David Edwards Mar 28 '14 at 14:57
@DavidEdwards Apparently my JDK wasn't even installed :) Installed open JDK 7 with the package manager and all was good! I'm working with a foreign Ubuntu build so wasn't sure the extent to which it was set up. –  advocate Mar 28 '14 at 18:46

To set JAVA_HOME environment variable, do the following:

  1. Launch Terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard.
  2. Enter the following command:
    $ gksudo gedit /etc/environment
  3. Depending on where you installed your Java, you will need to provide the full path. For this example, I installed Oracle JDK 7 in the /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-oracle directory.
    Scroll to the end of the file and enter the following:
    export JAVA_HOME
  4. Save your file and exit gedit.
  5. Lastly, reload the system PATH with the following command:
    $ . /etc/environment

The above method will save you the hassle in having to run the commands every time you log in to your computer.

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If you do not know the path and you only have openJDK installed, you can type update-alternatives --config java and you should find the path. To set the variable you can write JAVA_HOME=<PATH> followed by export JAVA_HOME. Notice there's no space when declaring the variable. To check if the variable is stored you simply type echo $JAVA_HOME to verify.

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