I want the java plugin to work in Firefox and so I want to be clear on something. It appears that the default JRE (OpenJDK) that one gets from doing

sudo apt install default-jre

will not work, and so it is useless. One needs either icedtea-8-plugin:i386 or oracle-java8-installer. Is this right?

Previous answers to questions about this just say install icedtea, but do not explain why? I am asking specifically if this is because openjdk cannot be made to work in Firefox. And I am wondering why in the world that would be? Strikes me as absolutely crazy.


1 Answer 1


Oracle Java contains some additional closed-source features like the webstart browser plugin and a few more which are not included in the completely open-source OpenJDK implementation.

However, the IcedTea project provided an additional open-source package that adds the webstart functionality to OpenJDK.

So to run Java applets in any browser (Firefox has nothing to do with that), you need to

  • either install the proprietary Oracle Java implementation via a PPA that includes the browser plugin,
  • or install the additional icedtea-8-plugin package that adds an open-source browser plugin for the open-source OpenJDK Java implementation, with both packages being provided by the official Ubuntu repositories.

Possibly interesting further read: Why isn't Oracle Java included in the standard Ubuntu repo?

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