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How Java SE may finally make it to Android

With the recent announcement of Ubuntu for Android we may hope again that full-blown desktop Java applications may become usable on Android devices.

As you may know, Ubuntu for Android will provide a complete desktop environment for Android phones, tablets and smartbooks. The nice thing is that this environment will be pretty much integrated with Android (like network management for the 3G connection and wifi).

The Ubuntu desktop will be able to run not only traditional Linux desktop applications like Open/LibreOffice and GIMP but it will also be able to execute desktop Java applications like TimeSlotTracker, MindCraft, TED and even developer IDEs like Netbeans (at least I don’t see any reason why not).

I have already tested Oracle’s Java SE Embedded on my HP Touchpad (under the WebOS / Ubuntu combo available for it) and I am fairly satisfied with its speed and stability.

I imagine Java SE Embedded from Oracle will be possible to install on Ubuntu for Android aside from the Java implementations available from the repositories (IcedTea and OpenJDK). The Java SE Embedded is downloadable as a standalone installer from Oracle’s Java SE Embedded pages.

It would be nice if Canonical could include an easy way to install the Oracle’s version of Java SE into Ubuntu for Android in order to make it simple for everyone to install Java applications. However, even if this doesn’t happen you will have the option of easily install OpenJDK/IcedTea from the package manager (which should suit most desktop apps) and install the Oracle JRE if the former don’t work well with your apps.


  1. February 24, 2012 at 13:58

    Definitely agree – the embedded ARM JRE is quite fine for performance on mobile devices (I ran it on a kobo touch – using the supplied system it ran fine). There’s no need to gimp the JRE just to fit it onto an underpowered device anymore and it may as well be the full SE version. Although I tried one of the openjdk efforts on the beagleboard without much joy – it worked, but was very slow (this was a couple of years ago, under X, and no doubt things have moved on since then).

    Unfortunately I wouldn’t bet on it making an ubuntu dist – linux distro’s can no longer even distribute the oracle desktop JDK/JRE anymore after-all and they cold never distribute the embedded one (without a license). And Sun were holding the ARM hotspot close to their chest as a licensing revenue stream. I certainly don’t see ubuntu (or any linux distro for that matter) embracing Java in any way shape or form for desktop applications, no matter what the platform (and thus doing a deal to distribute it). It seems to be all python these days …

    OTOH … if Oracle don’t prevail with their Google lawsuit, they might not have much to lose by simply giving it away. The JavaFX 3/Java 8 stuff looks very suitable for a modern mobile device too and it would be a waste not to make it freely available everywhere.

  2. mayeulk
    April 29, 2012 at 21:14

    I read both messages with interest.
    I wonder if it would be possible to run java apps on
    Android Gingerbread 2.3.6 (on Samsung Galaxy Note).

    I found out instructions on how to do this using Jbed [1],
    but only on rooted android. It requires to save an .so in /system/lib,
    which requires root permission.
    Do you have any idea on how to achieve this without flashing my phone (with Jbed or other software)?

    My aim is to use a java application (JOSM [2]) on an android tablet to
    contribute to OpenStreetMap (a free/collaborative map similar to
    wikipedia principles [3]). We are a group of people organizing a long
    mapping party (80 days) while crossing the Alps this summer [4] and we
    would like to map on the field as much as possible.
    I tried the various native-android OSM editors but they are all quite
    insufficient for the task. JOSM would be great.

    I know little of java (just a user) but I have average GNU/Linux skills,
    including good bash scripting skills.

    Any help would be appreciated!

    [1] For example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzxmXcWdvVs
    [2] http://josm.openstreetmap.de/
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenStreetMap
    [4] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/ViaAlpina
    Our blog: http://www.outdoormaps.org/

  3. December 27, 2012 at 14:42

    yes ofcourse.. java SE is really very good for android developing.. 🙂

  1. February 24, 2012 at 07:46
  2. February 24, 2012 at 11:40

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