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java cookbook

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This cookbook installs a Java JDK/JRE. It defaults to installing OpenJDK, but it can also install Oracle and IBM JDKs.


Simply include the java recipe wherever you would like Java installed, such as a run list (recipe[java]) or a cookbook (include_recipe 'java'). By default, OpenJDK 6 is installed. The install_flavor attribute is used to determine which JDK to install (OpenJDK, Oracle, IBM, or Windows), and jdk_version specifies which version to install (currently 6 and 7 are supported for all JDK types, 8 for Oracle only).


To install Oracle Java 7 (note that when installing Oracle JDK, accept_oracle_download_terms attribute must be set -- see below role for an example):

name "java"
description "Install Oracle Java"
  "java" => {
    "install_flavor" => "oracle",
    "jdk_version" => "7",
    "oracle" => {
      "accept_oracle_download_terms" => true

Example role to install IBM flavored Java:

name "java"
description "Install IBM Java on Ubuntu"
  "java" => {
    "install_flavor" => "ibm",
    "ibm" => {
      "accept_ibm_download_terms" => true,
      "url" => "",
      "checksum" => "The SHA256 checksum of the bin"


Chef 11+


  • Debian, Ubuntu
  • CentOS, Red Hat, Fedora, Scientific, Amazon, XenServer
  • ArchLinux
  • FreeBSD
  • SmartOS
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X


See attributes/default.rb for default values.

  • node['java']['install_flavor'] - Flavor of JVM you would like installed (oracle, oracle_rpm, openjdk, ibm, windows), default openjdk on Linux/Unix platforms, windows on Windows platforms.
  • node['java']['jdk_version'] - JDK version to install, defaults to '6'.
  • node['java']['java_home'] - Default location of the "$JAVA_HOME".
  • node['java']['set_etc_environment'] - Optionally sets JAVA_HOME in /etc/environment for Default false.
  • node['java']['openjdk_packages'] - Array of OpenJDK package names to install in the java::openjdk recipe. This is set based on the platform.
  • node['java']['tarball'] - Name of the tarball to retrieve from your internal repository, default jdk1.6.0_29_i386.tar.gz
  • node['java']['tarball_checksum'] - Checksum for the tarball, if you use a different tarball, you also need to create a new sha256 checksum
  • node['java']['jdk'] - Version and architecture specific attributes for setting the URL on Oracle's site for the JDK, and the checksum of the .tar.gz.
  • node['java']['oracle']['accept_oracle_download_terms'] - Indicates that you accept Oracle's EULA
  • node['java']['windows']['url'] - The internal location of your java install for windows
  • node['java']['windows']['package_name'] - The package name used by windows_package to check in the registry to determine if the install has already been run
  • node['java']['windows']['checksum'] - The checksum for the package to download on Windows machines (default is nil, which does not perform checksum validation)
  • node['java']['ibm']['url'] - The URL which to download the IBM JDK/SDK. See the ibm recipe section below.
  • node['java']['ibm']['accept_ibm_download_terms'] - Indicates that you accept IBM's EULA (for java::ibm)
  • node['java']['oracle_rpm']['type'] - Type of java RPM (jre or jdk), default jdk
  • node['java']['oracle_rpm']['package_version'] - optional, can be set to pin a version different from the up-to-date one available in the YUM repo, it might be needed to also override the node['java']['java_home'] attribute to a value consistent with the defined version
  • node['java']['oracle_rpm']['package_name'] - optional, can be set to define a package name different from the RPM published by Oracle.
  • node['java']['accept_license_agreement'] - Indicates that you accept the EULA for openjdk package installation.
  • node['java']['set_default'] - Indicates whether or not you want the JDK installed to be default on the system. Defaults to true.
  • node['java']['oracle']['jce']['enabled'] - Indicates if the JCE Unlimited Strength Jurisdiction Policy Files should be installed for oracle JDKs
  • node['java']['oracle']['jce']['home'] - Where the JCE policy files should be installed to
  • node['java']['oracle']['jce'][java_version]['checksum'] - Checksum of the JCE policy zip. Can be sha256 or md5
  • node['java']['oracle']['jce'][java_version]['url'] - URL which to download the JCE policy zip



Include the default recipe in a run list or recipe to get java. By default the openjdk flavor of Java is installed, but this can be changed by using the install_flavor attribute. By default on Windows platform systems, the install_flavor is windows and on Mac OS X platform systems, the install_flavor is homebrew.

OpenJDK is the default because of licensing changes made upstream by Oracle. See notes on the oracle recipe below.

NOTE: In most cases, including just the default recipe will be sufficient. It's possible to include the install_type recipes directly, as long as the necessary attributes (such as java_home) are set.


Sets default attributes based on the JDK version. This is included by default.rb. This logic must be in a recipe instead of attributes/default.rb. See #95 for details.


Updates /usr/lib/jvm/default-java to point to JAVA_HOME.


Purges deprecated Sun Java packages.


This recipe installs the openjdk flavor of Java. It also uses the alternatives system on RHEL/Debian families to set the default Java.

On platforms such as SmartOS that require the acceptance of a license agreement during package installation, set node['java']['accept_license_agreement'] to true in order to indicate that you accept the license.


This recipe installs the oracle flavor of Java. This recipe does not use distribution packages as Oracle changed the licensing terms with JDK 1.6u27 and prohibited the practice for both RHEL and Debian family platforms.

As of 26 March 2012 you can no longer directly download the JDK from Oracle's website without using a special cookie. This cookbook uses that cookie to download the oracle recipe on your behalf, however the java::oracle recipe forces you to set either override the node['java']['oracle']['accept_oracle_download_terms'] to true or set up a private repository accessible by HTTP.

override the accept_oracle_download_terms in, e.g., roles/base.rb

      :java => {
         :oracle => {
           "accept_oracle_download_terms" => true

For both RHEL and Debian families, this recipe pulls the binary distribution from the Oracle website, and installs it in the default JAVA_HOME for each distribution. For Debian, this is /usr/lib/jvm/default-java. For RHEl, this is /usr/lib/jvm/java.

After putting the binaries in place, the java::oracle recipe updates /usr/bin/java to point to the installed JDK using the update-alternatives script. This is all handled in the java_ark LWRP.


This recipe installs the 32-bit Java virtual machine without setting it as the default. This can be useful if you have applications on the same machine that require different versions of the JVM.

This recipe operates in a similar manner to java::oracle.


This recipe installs the Oracle JRE or JDK provided by a custom YUM repositories. It also uses the alternatives system on RHEL families to set the default Java.

While public YUM repos for Oracle Java 7 and prior are available, you need to download the RPMs manually for Java 8 and make your own internal repository. This must be done to use this recipe to install Oracle Java 8 via RPM. You will also likely need to set node['java']['oracle_rpm']['package_name'] to jdk1.8.0_40, replacing 40 with the most current version in your local repo.


Because as of 26 March 2012 you can no longer directly download the JDK msi from Oracle's website without using a special cookie. This recipe requires you to set node['java']['oracle']['accept_oracle_download_terms'] to true or host it internally on your own http repo or s3 bucket.


If you use the windows recipe, you'll need to make sure you've uploaded the aws and windows cookbooks. As of version 1.18.0, this cookbook references them with suggests instead of depends, as they are only used by the windows recipe.


The java::ibm recipe is used to install the IBM version of Java. Note that IBM requires you to create an account and log in to download the binary installer for your platform. You must accept the license agreement with IBM to use their version of Java. In this cookbook, you indicate this by setting node['java']['ibm']['accept_ibm_download_terms'] to true. You must also host the binary on your own HTTP server to have an automated installation. The node['java']['ibm']['url'] attribute must be set to a valid https/http URL; the URL is checked for validity in the recipe.

At this time the java::ibm recipe does not support multiple SDK installations.


The java::notify recipe contains a log resource that's :write action is called when a JDK version changes. This gives cookbook authors a way to subscribe to JDK changes and take actions (say restart a java service):

service 'somejavaservice'
  action :restart
  subscribes :write, 'log[jdk-version-changed]', :delayed



This cookbook contains the java_ark LWRP. Generally speaking this LWRP is deprecated in favor of ark from the ark cookbook, but it is still used in this cookbook for handling the Oracle JDK installation.

By default, the extracted directory is extracted to app_root/extracted_dir_name and symlinked to app_root/default


  • :install: extracts the tarball and makes necessary symlinks
  • :remove: removes the tarball and run update-alternatives for all symlinked bin_cmds

Attribute Parameters

  • url: path to tarball, .tar.gz, .bin (oracle-specific), and .zip currently supported
  • checksum: SHA256 checksum, not used for security but avoid redownloading the archive on each chef-client run
  • app_home: the default for installations of this type of application, for example, /usr/lib/tomcat/default. If your application is not set to the default, it will be placed at the same level in the directory hierarchy but the directory name will be app_root/extracted_directory_name + "_alt"
  • app_home_mode: file mode for app_home, is an integer
  • bin_cmds: array of binary commands that should be symlinked to /usr/bin, examples are mvn, java, javac, etc. These cmds must be in the bin subdirectory of the extracted folder. Will be ignored if this java_ark is not the default
  • owner: owner of extracted directory, set to "root" by default
  • group: group of extracted directory, set to :owner by default
  • default: whether this the default installation of this package, boolean true or false
  • reset_alternatives: whether alternatives is reset boolean true or false
  • use_alt_suffix: whether '_alt' suffix is used for not default javas boolean true or false


# install jdk6 from Oracle
java_ark "jdk" do
    url ''
    checksum  'a8603fa62045ce2164b26f7c04859cd548ffe0e33bfc979d9fa73df42e3b3365'
    app_home '/usr/local/java/default'
    bin_cmds ["java", "javac"]
    action :install


The java_alternatives LWRP uses update-alternatives command to set and unset command alternatives for various Java tools such as java, javac, etc.


  • :set: set alternatives for Java tools
  • :unset: unset alternatives for Java tools

Attribute Parameters

  • java_location: Java installation location.
  • bin_cmds: array of Java tool names to set or unset alternatives on.
  • default: whether to set the Java tools as system default. Boolean, defaults to true.
  • priority: priority of the alternatives. Integer, defaults to 1061.


# set alternatives for java and javac commands
java_alternatives "set java alternatives" do
    java_location '/usr/local/java'
    bin_cmds ["java", "javac"]
    action :set

Production Deployment with Oracle Java

Oracle has been known to change the behavior of its download site frequently. It is recommended you store the archives on an artifact server or s3 bucket. You can then override the attributes in a cookbook, role, or environment:

default['java']['jdk_version'] = '7'
default['java']['install_flavor'] = 'oracle'
default['java']['jdk']['7']['x86_64']['url'] = ''
default['java']['jdk']['7']['x86_64']['checksum'] = 'The SHA-256 checksum of the JDK archive'
default['java']['oracle']['accept_oracle_download_terms'] = true

Recommendations for inclusion in community cookbooks

This cookbook is a dependency for many other cookbooks in the Java/Chef sphere. Here are some guidelines for including it into other cookbooks:

Allow people to not use this cookbook

Many users manage Java on their own or have systems that already have java installed. Give these users an option to skip this cookbook, for example:

include_recipe 'java' if node['maven']['install_java']

This would allow a users of the maven cookbook to choose if they want the maven cookbook to install java for them or leave that up to the consumer.

Another good example is from the Jenkins Cookbook Java recipe.

Pinning to major version of cookbook and Java

This cookbook follows semver. It is recommended to pin at the major version of this cookbook when including it in other cookbooks, eg: depends 'java', '~> 1.0'

It is acceptable to set the node['java']['jdk_version'] to a specific version if required for your software to run, eg software xyz requires Java 8 to run. Refrain from pinning to specific patches of the JDK to allow users to consume security updates.


This cookbook uses test-kitchen for integration tests and ChefSpec/RSpec for unit tests. See for testing instructions.

At this time due to licensing concerns, the IBM recipe is not set up in test kitchen. If you would like to test this locally, copy .kitchen.yml to .kitchen.local.yml and add the following suite:

- name: ibm
  run_list: ["recipe[java]"]
      install_flavor: "ibm"
        accept_ibm_download_terms: true
        url: "http://jenkins/ibm-java-x86_64-sdk-7.0-4.1.bin"
        checksum: the-sha256-checksum

Log into the IBM DeveloperWorks site to download a copy of the IBM Java SDK you wish to use/test, host it on an internal HTTP server, and calculate the SHA256 checksum to use in the suite.

License and Author

Copyright: 2014-2015, Agile Orbit, LLC

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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