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Why isn't there a JBoss package available? Tomcat is well-served, but what passes for a jboss package in Ubuntu is completely useless.


Since people answering don't seem to have bothered looking into the package in question, let me detail my answer by showing it:

$ dpkg -L jbossas4

$ cat /usr/share/doc/jbossas4/README.Debian
jbossas4 is currently in a very alpha stage of packaging. I can be used
to build other libraries depending on JBoss like libhibernate3-java but
it is not complete and cannot be used as an application server yet.

 -- Torsten Werner <>  Mon, 19 Nov 2007 16:53:36 +0100
share|improve this question
Did you convert your "what passes for a jboss package in Ubuntu is completely useless" statement into a bug report ? If you have an issue with an Ubuntu package the proper place to work on it is at the bug tracker. – João Pinto Dec 16 '10 at 15:00
@João I didn't bother -- the guy who created the package stated that already on the package, three years ago. – Daniel C. Sobral Dec 16 '10 at 17:04
@Deadite81 That is not a proper answer. I don't want the "latest and greatest" version, I want a properly package version I can easily handle on dozens of servers through a configuration management software. As for what makes it useless, I expanded my answer by showing its contents and quoting the package creator about the package. – Daniel C. Sobral Dec 16 '10 at 17:07
Daniel, the statement written on the package 3 years ago by the package author has absolutely no relevance for the current problem. If you believe that the package is broken or not sufficient please file a bug report or follow the new package request process. If there is sufficient people with the interest /skills to work on a new package it will be worked. – João Pinto Dec 16 '10 at 17:17
@João The current problem derives from the fact that nothing has happened in three years. Or almost nothing. Now, perhaps there's some reason why Ubuntu doesn't have a working JBoss package -- license, some non-obvious (to me) way of installing it, I don't know. Since I don't know, I'm ASKING. Now, if you don't know the answer, go find some other question. Don't bother me with suggestions which are completely unrelated to my goals here: learning why is it that such an important WAS doesn't have a working package. – Daniel C. Sobral Dec 16 '10 at 20:11
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Having attempted to package jboss myself, I'm pretty sure I know why there isn't a good package for it.

  1. Business requirements. It's an "enterprise-ish" RedHat product. Ubuntu is a Debian-esque distribution. So, not many people use it on Ubuntu or Debian, because most people who want the "enterprise" bit of it also want the enterprise support, and figure it's better to just go RedHat all the way.

  2. Stricter requirements. Have you taken a look at the tomcat package? It's a mess. All over the place. The Tomcat tarball distribution (and the RedHat package, for that matter) place everything in /usr/share, last I checked, which was a couple years ago. The Debian/Ubuntu packages, in contrast, have the variable data in /var/lib/tomcat* (CATALINA_HOME), the static java libraries in /usr/share/tomcat* (TOMCAT_HOME), the JNI's in /usr/lib/tomcat*, and use symlinks to tie it all together. This is because the Debian package is designed to have a single tomcat installation be able to serve multiple running tomcat instances, and because the packaging requirements are much more strict for Debian/Ubuntu and actually insist that configuration is in /etc, variable data is in /var, and so on. RedHat has no such requirements, and the JBoss distribution rather lumps it all together in a way that is difficult to parcel out.

  3. Perfectionism in the face of poor/nonexistent documentation. If you look at the Debian/Ubuntu packages for libjboss-*, you'll see that all the libraries are separate packages. This is because they're not actually a single product, but a collection of them, that just happen to work together. In the standard JBoss tarball, you have "default" and "all" (and "minimal", I think...) that are a few "example" combinations...but many combinations are actually possible. I'm certain the packager knows this, and is trying to make a way to only install those libraries you need in the system JBoss installation, as is good practice (but hardly ever followed, in the case of JBoss, where nearly everyone just uses the "all" example).

  4. Difficulty of integration. There are no service start scripts that are anywhere near the level of sophistication that is normal in Ubuntu. The server process itself just spits to stdout, even. You'd need to find ways of redirecting to log files, in a rotate-able manner, set up the cron/logwatch to deal with it, write the init script, etc. This is not trivial, especially considering that JBoss is a collection of "whatever" libraries the user decides to use, and is not designed with system installations in mind -- it's clearly a "run this out of your home directory" type of setup, out of the box.

  5. Lack of need. The tarball, placed in /opt, perhaps with checkinstall, does the job for anyone who actually does large-scale deployments. If you're doing large-scale deployments, you typically have your own package repository anyway, so one more isn't much of an issue. There just isn't enough need to make a good package for it.

That said, I've been working on making on such a package. I've been "working on it" for two years, though I actually need it now. Hopefully, there will be a PPA for it soon. :-) If you have done .deb packaging before, and know JBoss internals, perhaps we can collaborate.

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Ok, that makes a lot of sense. Of course, I still want a package anyway. :) I don't have the know-how to help you with this, but I do wish you success! – Daniel C. Sobral Nov 22 '11 at 2:14
--UPDATE 5 Feb 2012 -- I now have a jbossas4 4.2.3.GA package that is functional, with startup scripts and files (mostly) in the correct locations. Expect a PPA in a matter of days; I just need to make sure all the copyrights are proper before publishing publicly. – zanfur Feb 5 '12 at 8:08
Great! I still want it! :-) – Daniel C. Sobral Feb 5 '12 at 18:13
Okay, PPA is up. Add the ppa:zanfur/jboss repository. Still in a state of flux, but is actually usable at this point. Package name is "jbossas". Doesn't quite conform to debian policy (jars in the wrongs places), but I'll get there. – zanfur Feb 6 '12 at 7:19
Awesome work, @zanfur! Thanks! – emptyset Feb 9 '12 at 14:12

Jboss is available in the software center.

alt text

But the version is still 4.2.3.GA-2

share|improve this answer
I just noticed the title of the question wasn't well worded. Yes, it exists. You just can't do anything with it, because it is just the beginning of a package at an alpha stage for the past three years. – Daniel C. Sobral Dec 16 '10 at 17:08

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