How to manually install and configure Eclipse on Ubuntu

Computer Eclipse

A standard installation of the Eclipse IDE shouldn't  be too much complicated, not so much to write about it, however, the real purpose of this post is to let a trace of everything installed during the set up of the “Work area”, and this requirement makes this post mandatory. The Eclipse version installed is the last stable build available, the 3.6.2, codenamed Helios. Among the different packages available at the official Eclipse website, we will download and install the  “Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers”, since the main purpose is to work with web application projects. As usual, no root privileges will be need on any step.


Required software that has already been installed and configured on the system.

Required files (~/downloads)

Downloaded files required during the installation process.

Installation steps

Step 1 - Unpack and move to the desired location

Unpack the eclipse-jee-helios-SR2-linux-gtk.tar.gz file and move the newly created folder (eclipse) to the desired location (e.g. ~/lab/ide).

me@rarejava:~$ cd downloads/
me@rarejava:~/downloads$ tar -zxvf eclipse-jee-helios-SR2-linux-gtk.tar.gz
me@rarejava:~/downloads$ mkdir -p ~/lab/ide
me@rarejava:~/downloads$ mv eclipse ~/lab/ide

Step 2 - Starting Eclipse from the terminal

This step will let us to start eclipse from the terminal anywhere in the file system. We can achieve this either by editing the ~/.profile file or ~/.bashrc file. The difference between these files is that the former is loaded once when you log in, whereas the latter is loaded every time you start a new terminal. Add the following lines inside one of those files.

# Eclipse environment variables
export ECLIPSE_HOME=$HOME/lab/ide/eclipse

Log out or close all the terminals, depending on the file edited, to apply the changes. Open a terminal and execute this command: "eclipse", this should start the Eclipse platform

Step 3 - Add a launcher in your Gnome panel

Right-click on your top panel and select “Add to Panel. A list of items will appear, among the different items available to add on the panel, select “Custom Application Launcher” and click on “Add”.  Then fill the window “Create launcher” as the image below.

Eclipse launcher

Before clicking on “OK”, click on the icon button and look inside the Eclipse home folder, there is an icon called “icon.xpm”, select it.

Step 4 - Specifying the JVM

We want Eclipse to run on the JVM installed inside our lab folder, the JAVA_HOME environment variable was already set up, so it should be enough. But, to be certain, we will edit the eclipse's initialization file. Open and edit the eclipse.ini file inside your Eclipse home folder.


Notice that the Eclipse platform will run on this JVM, but later we should select which JDK to use to compile and run our projects. Now, everything seems to be properly wired. Start the Eclipse IDE from the terminal or from the launcher at your Gnome panel. The first time Eclipse runs it shows a splash screen asking for your workspace path (e.g. ~/lab/workspace), remember that you can change it later anyway.

Workspace path

That's it! You have Eclipse ready to rumble!


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