Installing Java 9 and Eclipse Oxygen on Ubuntu 17.10

This is still unfortunately not an entirely straightforward process, at least insofar as getting Eclipse running smoothly out of the box. This is primarily because of the recent release of various versions around the same timeframe causing some upset. The majority of which falls on Java 9 having made changes to how it uses its module system and the manner in which Eclipse organizes its runtime environment.

Some recent developments have made things easier, however, a manual installation of Eclipse is still simply the best route to take at the moment.

Now Eclipse version 4.7.1a (the latest version as of right now) has actually fixed some issues, however, the Debian package has yet to be updated for Artful Aardvark (Ubuntu 17.10).

Java 9 Install

First thing is first, I recommend removing any traces of Java 8 currently on your system. (If you have a fresh install or haven’t been using Java programs, this shouldn’t be necessary).

# sudo apt remove openjdk-8-*

Then we can freshly install the Java 9 JRE / JDK and so forth. Easiest method is another simple glob usage:

# sudo apt install openjdk-9-*

Voila! All done.

Eclipse Install

Now this may seem counterproductive, but it will save you a headache. I recommend installing eclipse (even though it will technically be Neon I believe at this point) but only because doing so will cause many necessary dependencies to be installed that eclipse oxygen will require (such as ant, libbonoboui, libfelix, etc.), it will take up little extra space (101kb) and most importantly won’t cause any conflicts.

# sudo apt install eclipse

Once that’s done we can download the latest version of Eclipse from and you’ll want to select the first option which is Eclipse OXYGEN, in fact it should have automatically determined your operating system and the large orange DOWNLOAD 64 BIT button should already be pointing you to a file named eclipse-inst-linux64.tar.gz download and untar as usual.

# tar xvfz eclipse-inst-linux64.tar.gz

This creates a subdirectory eclipse-installer/ which you’ll then enter. (cd eclipse-installer)

Now this installer is actually a fantastic program that the Eclipse Foundation has put together. Now you may see a reflection error or warning popup when you run this, however, don’t let it worry you, it shouldn’t affect your ability to ensure a successful installation.

I actually recommend installing the software as a regular user, whichever user you’ll be using for your development. If you try installing as root to say something like /opt/ you’ll just find yourself in trouble. So simply execute the installer program.

# ./eclipse-inst

And you should see the installer popup.

Eclipse Installer by Oomph

Now personally I recommend installing the Enterprise Edition of Java because it basically sits on top of the Standard Edition and if you find yourself needing the EE edition (which you almost certainly will) you’ll wonder why you didn’t just go J2EE from the start. Especially since there’s no cost or any additional effort required on your part. Honestly, Oracle should just drop the Standard Edition or even better, replace SE with EE and have it be the new standard. That way it’ll be easy to differentiate it from something like Java ME.

If you go ahead and choose the IDE installation, it should ask for an installation path at some point. It will recommend to install in your home directory, however I don’t like to clutter mine up, so I chose to install to ~/.java/eclipse/ and that works for me. It will also ask you to agree to some user agreement (big surprise there), and finally to accept a few certificates/scripts (simply choose select all and continue/next). This process shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

Lastly, if you try to back out, it’ll ask you if you want to try running the program. Hit yes, and you should see the big beautiful new Eclipse Java EE IDE.

The welcome screen for Eclipse Java EE IDE

Dont let the Web Developers part worry you, it only mentions that because they’ve been gearing it so that Java web apps are supposed to be completed with the Enterprise Edition from here on out.

Now, you’ll have to remember, this was a local installation. You can add the install directory to your shell executable path (remember I chose ~/.java/eclipse/) or you could remove/replace /usr/bin/eclipse with a soft link to your locally installed program. (Of course that won’t really help out other users). I leave that decision up to you.

Now hopefully they’ll update the Eclipse Debian package at some point for 17.10, but honestly with 18.04 already looming close. I really don’t see that happening. Hopefully though, this won’t be an issue at all for Bionic Beaver (Ubuntu 18.04) especially since its going to be an LTS release.

Belisarius Smith consults as a software engineer, cloud engineer, and security adviser. He has a BSBA in Security Management and is currently completing graduate studies in the Engineering Department at Penn State University with a Masters of Software Engineering. When he isn't traveling, mountain climbing, or reading, he spends his spare time on personal side projects and studies.

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