Geoserver with OpenJDK on Ubuntu? I guess not

Or at least not for now. Today I had to install Geoserver on a new Ubuntu 8.04 server within a current Tomcat (6.0.18) for a colleague and was greeted by a nice error message related to casting and the javax.imageio package (or earlier on with a ClassDefNotFound exception related to the same package). The problem here seems to be that the stable Geoserver 1.6.x is not really compatible with OpenJDK yet.

So for now the fastest way to get it working again (that is, if you don’t absolutely require OpenJDK) to move back to the old Sun Java 6 package by first installing “sun-java6-jdk” and then by switching to it using update-alternatives --config java.

At first I thought I had to install some external libraries and miserably failed to install the jai_imageio binary package thanks to the package being broken and naturally Sun has to have internal checksums so that you can’t easily fix this. But luckily this has become a non-issue with the move back to Java6 for now, but I’m really curious if I just messed up something there or the missing jai_imageio package was really the problem here. I guess, this is a problem for later, now that I have a workaround in place ;-)