Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sun Java in Debian

I've been using Debian on a couple of laptops for a while now, and never needed to install Sun Java, but recently a web site prompted me to install it, so I thought I'd give it a go, thus finishing the trinity of non-free multimedia installations in Linux: Flash, MP3 ripping, and Sun Java.
Flash required adding a repository for Lenny backports, warnings that my system couldn't be considered stable any more, and warnings from Firefox that I was running an insecure version of Flash until I realised I had to enable automatic upgrades for backports.
MP3 ripping required adding the Debian Multimedia repository, and installing the package gstreamer0.10-lame.
The Sun Java package is in the Debian non-free repository, as is the browser plug-in. (sun-java6-jre and sun-java6-plugin were the required packages.) Marking the packages for installation resulted in a scary message:
You are about to install software that can’t be authenticated! Doing this could allow a malicious individual to damage or take control of your system.
This message is scary because malware can find its way into a Linux repository, if the packages are not digitally signed, and ignoring messages like this is the last thing users should be doing. I couldn't find an answer on Google, but the Debian Forum was helpful. It seems I needed the package debian-keyring. Quite why Debian doesn't prompt you to install the debian-keyring package when you enable the non-free repository is a bit of a mystery- maybe I did something wrong or missed a message, I don't know.
All in all, installing Flash, enabling MP3 ripping, and installing Java was a lot less painful in Ubuntu.
And the site that required Java? I went back and tried it again, but nothing happened- either a broken applet, or not compatible with the Sun Java version I have installed. The site wasn't that interesting, so I couldn't be bothered to find out which. So I still haven't really come across a site yet where I really need Java, but at least it's installed now in case I ever need it. :-P


  1. Usually, I find that warnings about unauthenticated debs indicate that "apt-get update" didn't run properly. Running it again solves the problem.

  2. The repository "" has a package called flashplayer-mozilla which is Adobe's player repackaged.

    You need to install the package debian-multimedia-keyring to authenticate debs from this source.

    Some instructions and/or dependencies are missing in Debian. For example, in order to use texlive's documentation with the texdoctk command, we need to have perl-tk installed.