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I first downloaded open-jdk with:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jdk

When I write java -version I get:

java version "1.7.0_09"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea7 2.3.4) (7u9-2.3.4-0ubuntu1.12.10.1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 23.2-b09, mixed mode)

and when I write javac -version I get:

javac 1.6.0_24

Then I downloaded Tomcat 6 from

I unzipped the file, and tried to run sudo bash in the /bin directory. Then I get this message:

Using CATALINA_BASE:   /home/apache-tomcat-6.0.36
Using CATALINA_HOME:   /home/apache-tomcat-6.0.36
Using CATALINA_TMPDIR: /home/apache-tomcat-6.0.36/temp
Using JRE_HOME:        /usr
Using CLASSPATH:       /home/apache-tomcat-6.0.36/bin/bootstrap.jar

I have also tried to install Tomcat as a service with sudo apt-get install tomcat6 then I get the message:

sudo apt-get install tomcat6
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
Use 'apt-get autoremove' to remove them.
Suggested packages:
  tomcat6-docs tomcat6-admin tomcat6-examples tomcat6-user libtcnative-1
The following NEW packages will be installed:
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 28 not upgraded.
Need to get 0 B/30.2 kB of archives.
After this operation, 258 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously unselected package tomcat6.
(Reading database ... 85488 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking tomcat6 (from .../tomcat6_6.0.35-5_all.deb) ...
Processing triggers for ureadahead ...
Setting up tomcat6 (6.0.35-5) ...
* Starting Tomcat servlet engine tomcat6                  [fail]
invoke-rc.d: initscript tomcat6, action "start" failed.

When I run this:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/tomcat6 start
 * Starting Tomcat servlet engine tomcat6        [fail]

The server just won't start. I set it up exactly the same in Windows, running startup.bat, and it worked. Anyone got a clue what is the problem? There are no error messages.

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Please have a look at your /var/log/ directory. There should be a log file either as tomcat.log or inside a folder near apache2. There should be the details why the startup has failed. – aquaherd Jan 30 '13 at 16:24

This happened to me also on Ubuntu.

To fix I first cleaned / reinstalled tomcat6 using apt

sudo apt-get --purge remove tomcat6 tomcat6-common tomcat6-admin
sudo apt-get install tomcat6 tomcat6-common tomcat6-admin

Then launched using:

sudo /etc/init.d/tomcat6 restart

Then check the error log when the fail message appears:

tail /var/log/tomcat6/catalina.2013-05-03.log

Got a few missing directory issues so fixed those, restarting each time until no more errors appear here.

Then check the out log:

tail /var/log/tomcat6/catalina.out

This showed some java errors (missing classes).

After some searching found env variables not being set can cause issues, fixed by adding these two lines to /etc/environment:


Then imported these / checked with:

source /etc/environment

Also fixed lib symlink using:

cd /var/lib/tomcat6
sudo ln -s /usr/share/java lib

After doing all of that the next restart worked and I am now able to see the "It Works!" page by navigating to:

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