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Java Web Start

Java Web Start is an excellent package that lets you run Java programs as applications on your computer without having to manually install each program that you wish to run. These programs do not run as part of the web browser, so they are not susceptible to browser crashes and you don't even need the browser running to start the applications.

Both ShaRP and ImageRover applications may be run via Java Web Start. Java Web Start will need to be installed on all computers from which you wish to use the these applications.

Setting up Java Web Start

If you do not have Java Web Start installed, you can accomplish this in two different ways.

Note: If you are on Windows 2000 or a derivative that has user directory permissions, you will need to either install Java Web Start in a directory that all users have permission to write to (which isn't the best situation) or you will need to modify your own configuration after installing Web Start. (See below)

  • Java 1.5: Simply installing Java 1.5 from Sun is the easiest way to get the newest Java and Java Web Start. Earlier versions of Java (1.2, 1.3, and 1.4) will also work. For 1.2 and 1.3 you'll have to install Java and then install Java Web Start separately.
  • Windows: To get 1.5, go to the Java 1.5 website. Just go through the install process and tell it to add java to your browsers if it asks and you are all set.

The “theme” used on Windows with Java 1.5 seems to use a solid white background on the buttons, which might make public project names hard to read on the Control Panel tabs.

Note: If, for some reason, don't have a default browser set you might have problems running the Java Web Start application manager. It might pop up a splash screen and then disappear without actually running the application manager. Set a browser and you should be OK. This behavior can also happen if you upgrade from Java 1.4 to 1.5. If Java Web Start quits working after an upgrade you might need to delete the java preferences directories in your User folder. Contact us if this is happening.

  • Linux: To get 1.5, go to the Java 1.5 website. Go through the normal install process.
  • For 1.4, we have had some cases of difficulties with the version of Java Web Start included in Java 1.4.2 on Linux. URLs in the Control Panel wouldn't work correctly, and the Java Web Start manager (javaws) wouldn't start properly. If you have problems with this, we recommend the following: Get rid of the .javaws and the .java directories in your home directory. You can rename them to something else if you wish, but javaws doesn't seem to handle their existence in all cases.
  • Java Web Start might not properly detect your browser. If this happens, go into the Java Web Start manager and set it manually from the File | Preferences menu option.
  • If you are using a version of Java other than Sun, you might find yourself installing only Java Web Start. We've had a user on that said that when Java Web Start installed, it was only executable for root and had to be chmod'd for everyone else. If you can't seem to run Java Web Start correctly as a normal user, check the permissions of javaws bin.
  • Mac OS X: Java Web Start ships with the operating system. You can run Software Update to get the most recent version of Java from Apple.
  • Solaris: Click on the Installation Instructions link when you download Java 1.5 and the installation page has a section on Java Web Start installation. Follow those instructions. NOTE: The Java Web Start installation needs to be done on a per-user basis. If you install the Java Web Start portion as root, only root will be able to use it.

Note for those using Mozilla on Unix type platforms: Early versions of Mozilla didn't pick up the .mailcap and .mime.types file changes that the install process performed when Java Web Start installs. You might need to manually add it by going to 'Edit | Preferences | Navigator | Helper Applications' and adding a New Type with information:

Description of Type: Java Web Start

File Extension : jnlp

MIME type : application/x-java-jnlp-file

Application To Use : /path/to/javaws

(You can get the /path/to/javaws by looking in your .mailcap file in your home directory. The install process should have put it there) If you are on Windows XP Pro, 2000, or NT and you try to launch the Control Panel and you get an error, you can click on 'Details' and look at the actual exception that it is giving.

If any of these exceptions seem like an application bug in either the ShaRP or ImageRover application please submit a bug report by following the Bug Reporting directions. We appreciate those who take the time to report these bugs and improve these applications.

Java Web Start on 64-bit Machines

Until recently java web start was not available for 64 bit machines and had to be run as a 32-bit application on a 64-bit machine. Now it's different. Below are instructions on running 64-bit java webstart.

This tutorial was written specifically for Java 1.6.0_12, but should work fine on future revisions.

Installing Java for 64-bit

Begin by downloading Java from Sun. Download Here ( (Linux x64 self-extracting JRE file)

or paste this command into the terminal:

wget -c ''

Next, we'll create an install directory in /opt (as this is probably the best place for development applications).

cd /opt
sudo mkdir java
cd java

Let's copy the installer file to the java directory.

sudo cp ~/jre-6u12-ea-bin-b02-linux-amd64-08_dec_2008.bin /opt/java/

Finally, let's execute the installer

sudo bash jre-6u12-ea-bin-b02-linux-amd64-08_dec_2008.bin

For good measure, let's register this as the default Java provider.

sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/java" "java" "/opt/java/jre1.6.0_12/bin/java" 1
sudo update-alternatives --set java /opt/java/jre1.6.0_12/bin/java

Installing Firefox plugin
First, lets remove the gcj web plugin:
sudo apt-get remove icedtea-gcjwebplugin
If it comes up with "not found" or the like, ignore it and continue.

Since we have it all setup, all we need to do is install the Firefox plugin. This can be done in one simple command (change according to version).

mkdir ~/.mozilla/plugins
ln -s /opt/java/jre1.6.0_12/lib/amd64/ ~/.mozilla/plugins/

You can test the plugin by restarting your browser and going to and checking for the pink box and line of text.

Viewing the Java Console

From time to time, it might be useful to view the Java standard-out text console. ShaRP and ImageRover applications often send debugging information there as can other Web Start programs that you might want to run. In its default configuration, you won't ever see the Java console. To enable it, you need to go into the Java Web Start application manager (On Windows you probably have an application called 'Java Web Start' in your Start menu, and on unix it is probably an application called 'javaws' that might or might not be in your path. On Mac OS X, the Java Web Start application will probably be in /Applications/Utilities/Java).

In the application manager, you can go to Edit | Preferences and navigate to the Advanced tab where you can enable the Java console. You have the option of having it pop open every time you that you run an application (Show Java Console), or you can have it automatically log the output to a file (Log Output). Personally, I would recommend just having it log the output to a file. That way you don't have an extra window everytime you run an application, but you can still look at the output if you wish to do so. Just choose a log file name that is somewhere that you can remember it. Some programs can output a lot of text to the console, so you might want to check the size of the log file on occasion and periodically delete log files that do not contain important information.

java_web_start.txt · Last modified: 2010/09/02 16:45 by arwillis