I have just upgraded to 18.10. I was using JabRef, installed through Apt. Now, JabRef won't launch. When I try to launch it from the command line I get this error:

Error occurred during initialization of boot layer java.lang.module.FindException: Module java.se.ee not found

What is going on?


Error is caused by the upgrade of java runtime enviroment to version 11. On my system, after upgrade I had both openjdk-8-jre and openjdk-11-jre. The version 11 is favored by the /etc/alternatives settings, and jabref fails.

If you remove the jdk-11 packages and keep only the version 8, then the jabref starts as usual.

Why is this happening now? The jabref starter script provided by Ubuntu packaging (/usr/bin/jabref) has this

  if ! ( echo "$JAVA_VERSION" | grep -q '1.8.0' ) ; then
    # We need some options to start this version on openjdk9 and later
    # See http://discourse.jabref.org/t/cannot-start-jabref-3-7-3-6-using-java-9-on-ubuntu-16-04/361/8
    JABREF_JAVA_OPTS=${JABREF_JAVA_OPTS-"--add-modules=java.se.ee --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt=ALL-UNNAMED"}

However, the se-ee modules were deprecated in JDK 9 so they are not present in JDK 11.


I'm still checking on how the jabref (as packaged for Ubuntu) can be fixed.

The short term fix is to run it with Java 8.

On our RedHat linux systems, we have run into the problem and the tech assistant here says that if you get the full Java packages from Oracle, they still have the needed components, but I don't know where the truth lies. I'll keep checking.

  • Just for those who also had to google how to remove all jdk-11 files: sudo apt-get remove "openjdk-11-*" (quotes required for zsh). – Felix Nov 27 '18 at 4:09

You can install openjdk-11 and openjdk-8 together on ubuntu 18.10, I just modify /usr/bin/jabref as below:


That means, just point JAVA_CMD to openjdk-8, not openjdk-11.

This not hurt all other openjdk-11 related applications.

  • This should be the right answer! Thank you! – Blind0ne Dec 27 '18 at 12:14

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