This little guide is just a greatly padded out version of instructions I got from Misha but since we have quite a few Ubuntu users and quite a few Java programmers in MiNDS> this should come in quite useful.

Basically this is the Debian way of installing the Sun JSDK so that it can be managed with dpkg and hence easily upgraded or removed at a later date.

Firstly, since Ubuntu IS a distribution of Debian really I will just refer to Debian in these instructions but the instructions also apply to Ubuntu and in fact it was on Ubuntu that I tested this. Also, these instructions assume that you are logged in as a user who has access to root via sudo.

The way this will work is that we will use a Debian package called java-package to turn the binary Linux installer we get from Sun (or IBM and others too) into a proper Debian package (.deb) and then we will use Debian’s package manager (dpkg) to install that Debian package.

The first step in the process is to install the java-package program that will allow us to create the .deb file. To do this simply type:

sudo apt-get install java-package

If you are asked for a password it is for sudo and you should enter your own login password.

The next step is to go to and download the Linux binary installer for the JSDK that you want to install. DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE LINUX RPM FILE!

The next step is to use java-package to turn this binary file into a Debian package, to do this move into the folder where you downloaded the binary file from

NOTE, if you are doing this in the college on your machine for your 4th year project you will have to copy the binary file to /tmp and work from there because local root does not have access to your NFS mounted home directory.

For this step you will need fakeroot, if you don’t have it installed install it with apt-get like so:

sudo apt-get install fakeroot

Once you have fakeroot installed and you are in the right directory start the packaging with the command (replacing file_from_sun.bin with the actual name of the file you got from Sun):

fakeroot make-jpkg file_from_sun.bin

This will now appear to run the Sun installer but rather than installing it into your system it is extracting it to a temporary fake root file system and then creating the .deb file from the files in that fake file system. During this stage you will be asked to agree to the Java license agreement.

When the above command completes (will take a few minutes) a .deb file will have been created in your current folder. This is the file that we will now install with dpkg as follows (replacing name_of_deb_file.deb with the actual name of the .deb file created):

sudo dpkg -i name_of_deb_file.deb

And hey presto you are finished, when ever you want to get rid of that JDK all you have to do is (replacing name_of_deb_file_without_The_extension with the name of the generated .deb file but with the .deb extension left out, e.g. sun-j2sdk1.5):

dpkg --purge name_of_deb_file_without_The_extension

You can then install a new JSDK in the same was as described above or just leave your system Java free (heaven knows why you’d do something mad like that!)