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Install Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu in 5 easy steps

An IDE is a recommended prerequisite for almost every software development project. Popular IDEs include Eclipse, JetBrains, Apache NetBeans and the Spring Tool Suite. However, nowhere in the catacombs of TheServerSide is there a tutorial that discusses how to install an IDE.

To address this oversight, this video tutorial breaks down the steps to install the Eclipse IDE. While this tutorial looks specifically at an Ubuntu machine, the steps are similar on Windows and on other Linux distributions.

Prerequisites for an Eclipse IDE installation

While there are Eclipse packages that allow for development in a variety of software programming languages -- including C++, PHP, Rust and Scout -- this tutorial looks specifically at Eclipse IDE support for Java. As such, make sure you have a local JDK installation already set up.

Eclipse for Enterprise Java
Download the 64-bit Ubuntu Linux distro of the Eclipse IDE for Enterprise Java.

The first step to install the Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu is to download the software from eclipse.org. This tutorial goes through the install of the 64-bit Linux distribution of the Eclipse IDE for Enterprise Java Developers package.

Configure the Eclipse installer JDK

Unzip or untar the downloaded package and look for the "eclipse-inst.ini" file in the eclipse-installer folder of the extracted directories. Open this folder and edit the file.

Configure eclipse installer
Edit the Eclipse installer ini file to know of the local JDK installation.

In this file, add a –vm argument that points directly to the java utility within your JDK installation. For my installation -- which uses JDK 13 -- the full path to the Java utility is /opt/jdk-13/bin/java.

If the path to the Java utility isn't configured properly, the installer will generate an error message of "A Java Runtime Environment (JRE) or Java Development Kit (JDK) must be available in order to run Eclipse Installer. No Java virtual machine was found."

Eclipse on Ubuntu
Eclipse install on Ubuntu Linux successfully completes.

Run the Eclipse installer

After the "eclipse-inst.ini" file is properly configured, run the eclipse-inst utility found in the eclipse-installer folder. Accept all the default settings and license agreements, and eventually the installation progress bar will turn into a green launch button. Click the green button and watch the Eclipse IDE come to life.

After you click the launch button, the Eclipse IDE appears. As a Java developer, you can create RESTful web services, perform JDBC queries, compare String literals and write Hibernate-based JPA applications.

Eclipse Java code
Code for a HelloWorld application inside the Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu Linux.

How to install the Eclipse IDE in five steps

In summary, these are the key steps to install an Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu Linux:

  1. Download the Eclipse IDE package that suits your development goals.
  2. Unzip or untar the downloaded packages.
  3. Edit the "eclipse-inst.ini" file and point it to the java utility of your locally installed JDK.
  4. Run the eclipse-inst program to kick off the local installation.
  5. After you accept all license agreements and installation defaults, click on the green Launch button to run the Eclipse IDE on Ubuntu for the first time and begin your Java development journey.
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