In this tutorial, we will explain how to install Java (OpenJDK) on Debian 10 Linux.

Java  is one of the most popular programming languages used to build  different kinds of applications and systems. Applications developed in  Java are scalable, flexible, and maintainable.

Before You Begin

There  are two different implementations of Java, OpenJDK and Oracle Java,  with almost no differences between them except that Oracle Java has a  few additional commercial features. Oracle Java License permits only non-commercial use of the software, such as personal use and development use.

The  default Debian 10 repositories include two different Java packages,  Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK). JRE  includes the Java virtual machine (JVM), classes, and binaries that  allow you to run Java programs. Java developers should install JDK,  which includes JRE and development/debugging tools and libraries  necessary to build Java applications.

If you are not sure which  Java package to install, the general recommendation is to stick to the  default OpenJDK (JDK 11) version. Some Java-based applications may  require a specific version of Java, so you should consult the  application documentation.

Installing OpenJDK 11

OpenJDK  11, the open-source implementation of the Java Platform, is the default  Java development and runtime in Debian 10, Buster.

Run the following commands as a user with sudo privileges or root to update the packages index and install the OpenJDK 11 JDK package:

sudo apt update

Once the installation is complete, you can verify it by checking the Java version:

java -version

The output should look something like this:

openjdk version "11.0.3" 2019-04-16
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 11.0.3+7-post-Debian-5)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 11.0.3+7-post-Debian-5, mixed mode, sharing)

That’s it! At this point, you have successfully installed Java on your Debian system.

JRE is included in the JDK package. If you need only JRE, install the default-jre package.

Installing OpenJDK 8

At the time of writing, the previous Java LTS version 8 is not available in the official Debian Buster repositories.

We’ll enable the AdoptOpenJDK repository, which provides prebuilt OpenJDK packages.

Start by updating the packages list and installing the dependencies necessary to add a new repository over HTTPS:

sudo apt update

Import the repository’s GPG key using the following wget command:

wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -

Add the AdoptOpenJDK APT repository to your system:

sudo add-apt-repository --yes

Once the repository is enabled, update apt sources and install Java 8 using the following commands:

sudo apt update

Finally, verify the installation by checking the Java version:

java -version

The output should look something like this:

openjdk version "1.8.0_212"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (AdoptOpenJDK)(build 1.8.0_212-b04)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (AdoptOpenJDK)(build 25.212-b04, mixed mode)

Set the default version

If  you have multiple Java versions installed on your Debian system you can  check what version is set as the default one by typing:

java -version

To change the default version, use the update-alternatives command:

sudo update-alternatives --config java

The output will look something like below:

There are 2 choices for the alternative java (providing /usr/bin/java).

  Selection    Path                                                Priority   Status
* 0            /usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk-amd64/bin/java          1111      auto mode
  1            /usr/lib/jvm/adoptopenjdk-8-hotspot-amd64/bin/java   1081      manual mode
  2            /usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk-amd64/bin/java          1111      manual mode

Press <enter> to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 

You will be presented with a list of all installed Java  versions. Enter the number of the version you want to be used as the  default and press Enter.

JAVA_HOME Environment Variable

The JAVA_HOME environment variable is used by some Java applications to determine the Java installation location.

To set the JAVA_HOME environment variable, use the update-alternatives command to find where Java is installed:

sudo update-alternatives --config java

In this example, the installation paths are as follows:

  • OpenJDK 11 is located at /usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk-amd64/bin/java
  • OpenJDK 8 is located at /usr/lib/jvm/adoptopenjdk-8-hotspot-amd64/bin/java

Once you found the path of your preferred Java installation, open the /etc/environment file:

sudo nano /etc/environment

Assuming you want to set JAVA_HOME to OpenJDK 11, add the following line, at the end of the file:



For changes to take effect on your current shell you can either log out and log in or run the following source command:

source /etc/environment

Verify that the JAVA_HOME environment variable was correctly set:


You should see the path to the Java installation:


/etc/environment is a system-wide configuration file, which is used by all users. If you want to set the JAVA_HOME variable on a per-user basis, then add the line to the .bashrc or any other configuration file which is loaded when the user logs in.

Uninstall Java

You can uninstall Java like any other package installed with apt.

For example, to uninstall the default-jdk package simply run:

sudo apt remove default-jdk


The  latest LTS version of OpenJDK is available in the default Debian 10  Buster repositories, and the installation is a simple and  straightforward task.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.