I Hate Java

(Originally posted 27 Nov 09, lost in server mishap, found in Google's cache of this page)

So for some reason this evening, my favorite RSS Reader (RSSOwl 2) wouldn't run… and that scares me. I use it to peruse probably 60-80 websites daily.

Anyway, it just wouldn't run. No error messages. Didn't even look like Windows would give it a chance. Never showed up in Task Manager. Well, I was using a beta, so I uninstalled it and installed the newly released 2.0. Still no luck. Nothing at all.

Decided to try it from the command line, to see if the helps:

Error occurred during initialization of VM
java/lang/NoClassDefFoundError: java/lang/Object

That's nice and descriptive - WTF? Remembering that RSSOwl is built on the Java IDE Eclipse, I decided to make sure I have the newest Java. I am running Windows 7, which is fairly new, so maybe something happened there. Doesn't explain why I've been running it since its release with no problems up to now… In fact, I notice that running java from the command line gives me the same error.

BTW, Google was useless, a bunch of posts about Java from 2005, or talk about the SDKs and/or rt.jar. None seemed to apply.

So I install the latest, which is "Java 6 Update 17" - an odd numbering scheme, I will get back to that. With a fresh install, the plugin works in Firefox. Java.com has a link to check your JVM too. That crashed Firefox. So I copy the URL and try Internet Explorer. Crashed that too. Drop to the command line to try java - same error.

Open up the control panel to add/remove programs, and I see that there are 4 or 5 versions of Java installed. Why? Shouldn't "Update 17" be sufficient instead of also having Updates 2, 5, 7, and 13 also? (I don't remember the exact numbers).

After uninstalling all of them, and then installing the newest, everything works fine, including RSSOwl and the JVM check page:

RevRagnarok@Jotunheim ~
$ java -version
java version "1.6.0_17"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_17-b04)
Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 14.3-b01, mixed mode, sharing)

One note: I think Update 17 was the first one to be installed/updated after the upgrade from Vista to Win7. That may be related to why there was such weirdness… but I still don't agree with an update not removing all the previous ones.


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