NetBeans, Java, linux x86_64: some light, and a very dark shadow.

After hestitating to do so for quite a while, by now I finally got along installing my working notebook using the 64bit enabled version of xubuntu 7.10 ‘gutsy gibbon’, and I have to report that most of the things moved along rather smoothly. The system works again, does run rather smoothly, not slower than it did before (actually some applications – like the virtualization stuff allowing me to run, well, “other” OSses once in a while if really needed – “feel” a little faster than before).

So far, so good. Well, except for one thing perhaps, which leaves me rather irritated: Though there actually is a native Java version for amd64, also allowing me to immediately move along working with NetBeans on my newly installed machine, the amd64 build of Suns Java distribution obviously doesn’t come with a browser plugin, which is not really a good thing if you’re into creating applets once in a while. Browsing the web I found numerous hints on how to get over this limitation (including installing the IBM Blackdown java package or advices on how to downgrade my browser to be 32bit again and merrily use the old plugins), but no real evidence of being capable of simply plugging one of my installed JDKs to my Firefox 2 browser on this platform like I used to do before.

Even worse, I found this issue report against Sun JDK requesting 64-bit plugin support, an enhancement request that, well, celebrated its 5th birthday yesterday without having a viable solution available now or in near future. Given that JDK 6 Update N is likely to come with an all-refurbished Java plugin, knowing that, five years later, there still is no support for a platform more than common nowadays is rather frustrating. Somehow, Sun people haven’t really outdone theirselves about that. By now, I will evaluate a bunch of other solutions (including the 32bit browser and the icedtea-java7-plugin package that comes with Ubuntu amd64 but so far causes stacktraces on my system), but in the end it’s more than likely I’ll be back to 32bit – caused by an issue someone has failed to address the last five years… Did I mention that official JDK7 pre-release builds for linux-amd64 also suffer from this flaw? Simply disastrous…

2 thoughts on “NetBeans, Java, linux x86_64: some light, and a very dark shadow.”

  1. you won’t get any advantages if you run a 64bit VM on consumer hardware. (it will currently run even slower because of higher memory bandwidth requirements)

    Just use 32bit java with a 32bit browser, it works for me now since around 2 years. The 64bit VM has been build for server like hardware and contains only the server (hotspot) compiler.

  2. @Michael: You surely are right, however I was hoping to benefit from 64bit mainly in terms of running my local vm server (need to have Windows XP up once in a while to see how our applications behave there) and in terms of dealing with large images and, to some extend, audio. Working in NetBeans on amd64 so far has been a pleasant experience, about the plugin, it’s simply annoying that it’s not around so I have to decide to either dump the 64bit performance in these fields in which they could be of use or to go without Java plugin or to fiddle with installing an external browser side-by-side with the original packages coming with the distribution, three solutions both not really neat. ­čÖü

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