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Re: Debian & Java

>I thought I remembered seeing someone talking about a mailing list to
>discuss Debian and Java issues.  However there is no such list listed
>on the mailing list archives page at www.debian.org.  Is there a list?

No list I know of. I am maintaining a page (down at the moment; 
up again in the next few days;
http://www.worldofbeverage.net/) about debian-jdk issues, and of course
there are the Debian JDK packagers/developers.

>I am doing some Java development and I am dealing with a few issues.
>Is someone working on policy for how Java apps and libraries get
>installed in Debian (e.g. how would a library add to a global
>classpath so that one can use it)?  

No, but I have some very nice scripties that I wrote to handle just that
issue. I'm hoping to package up something this month; currently
code-named lava (pending checking for name conflicts with other

Basically, here's the gist of my current scheme:

Installed java applications and libraries:
* Distributed with OS -> /usr/lib/java/*.jar
* Local system-wide -> /usr/local/lib/java/*.jar
* User -> ~/lib/java/*.jar

A perl script, currently called "lava", goes through these dirs in order
(I may replace with an explicit path), builds a CLASSPATH argument and
passes it off to "java" via the -classpath switch.

Apps under development:
* establish a working directory LAVA_WORK
* 3rd party libs linked in as $LAVA_WORK/lib/*.jar
* source code rooted at $LAVA_WORK/source
* compiled classes placed in $LAVA_WORK/classes

You can "lavac" a *.java file, and it puts in the right place and uses
the correct classpath. You can then "lava-test" the class to see if 
it works, debug, etc. You can "lavar" to clean up the classes/ directory
so you're sure that you don't have anything old laying around.

But for better compilation management, I use a tool I call "JarMake"
uses a Makefile-like syntax to manage dependencies between packages and
jars, and can build a set of jars from a source tree automatically - it
generates a GNU makefile to do this.

I use this system all day every day at work; it's been a real
sanity-saver. I want to release it under GPL soon. It really isn't all
that complicated, just a few perl scripts, but managing all these class
libraries is a pain without some sort of system.

In any case, I volunteer to help with a Debian-Java standardization

>Is anyone contemplating packaging

There's a fair amount of license-foo involved. It might be best to make
an installer package instead, and make people d/l the official
Apparently you can redistribute the software, but it can't be exported
to Libya or whatever (perhaps because they didn't have time to write in
a paragraph disclaiming property damage due to terrorism or something)
which might prevent its downloadability. Blech. I know I for one rest
easier at night knowing that international terrorists are stuck with
crappy GUIs on their software.


Paul Reavis                                      preavis@partnersoft.com
Design Lead
Partner Software, Inc.                        http://www.partnersoft.com

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