Eclipse 3.3.2 and Debian

So I wanted to install Eclipse at home, the version that comes with Debian is 3.2.2-5 and I wanted to try 3.3.x and install WTP and some other plugins that aren’t packaged with Debian (anyone know why?).

After downloading and installing Eclipse the welcome screen would appear with an error message saying:

Error creating the view.

org.elipse.core.runtime.Plugin

This is because the default jvm or java executable on my system was one provided by gcj and for some reason Eclipse’s eclipse doesn’t seem to work properly with gcj (or I had a too old version), Debian’s 3.2.2 Eclipse packages seem to work fine with gcj. Gcj is an Open Source Java compiler provided by GNU.

Using Sun’s JVM solved this. To install Sun’s JVM, if you don’t already have it, issue the following command:

aptitude install sun-java5-bin

Debian uses what’s called alternatives, this means that the java executable /usr/bin/java is actually a symbolic link to /etc/alternatives/java which itself is a symbolic link to the real java executable. You can manually change the links in /etc/alternatives or run:

update-alternatives –all

And change all the java tools to point to the ones that come with the Sun JVM. Alternatively, you can install galternatives which is an easy to use GUI tool to manage alternatives.

Updated March 2008: Corrected misspellings, and grammatical mistakes.

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