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How To Make a .jar File Executable in Ubuntu with OpenJDK

Ubuntu 14

In this article, we will delve into the process of making a .jar file executable in Ubuntu using OpenJDK. We will cover three different methods: using the command line, using the graphical user interface (GUI), and creating a launcher. By the end of this guide, you should be able to execute .jar files with ease in your Ubuntu system.

Quick Answer

To make a .jar file executable in Ubuntu with OpenJDK, you can use the command line, the graphical user interface (GUI), or create a launcher. Using the command line, you need to navigate to the directory where the .jar file is located and change the file permissions using the chmod command. Then, you can run the .jar file using the java -jar command. With the GUI, you can change the permissions of the .jar file through the file properties. Finally, creating a launcher involves creating a .desktop file with the necessary information and moving it to the appropriate directory.


Before we begin, ensure that you have OpenJDK installed on your Ubuntu system. If not, you can install it using the following command:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk

This command uses the apt-get package handling utility to install the OpenJDK 8 JDK. The sudo command is used to execute the command with administrative privileges.

Method 1: Using the Command Line

The command line is a powerful tool that can be used to change the permissions of files. Here’s how to make your .jar file executable using the command line:

  1. Open a Terminal: You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T or searching for Terminal in your system’s application launcher.
  2. Navigate to the Directory: Use the cd command to navigate to the directory where your .jar file is located. For instance, if your file is in the Downloads folder, you would use:
    cd ~/Downloads
  3. Change File Permissions: Use the chmod command to make the .jar file executable. The syntax is as follows:
    chmod +x yourfile.jar
    In this command, chmod changes the permissions of files. The +x option adds the execute permission to the file.
  4. Run the .jar File: Now, you can run the .jar file by executing the following command:
    java -jar yourfile.jar
    The java -jar command tells the system to use Java to execute the .jar file.

Method 2: Using the GUI

If you prefer using the graphical interface, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Properties: Right-click on the .jar file and select “Properties”.
  2. Change Permissions: Navigate to the “Permissions” tab and check the box that says “Allow executing file as a program”.
  3. Run the .jar File: Close the properties window. You should now be able to double-click the .jar file to run it.

Method 3: Creating a Launcher

Creating a launcher can be a handy way to run .jar files. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a New File: Open a text editor and create a new file.
  2. Add Launcher Information: Add the following lines to the file:
    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=Your Application Name
    Exec=java -jar /path/to/your/file.jar
    Replace “Your Application Name” with the desired name for your application. Replace “/path/to/your/icon.png” with the path to an icon image for your application (optional). Replace “/path/to/your/file.jar” with the actual path to your .jar file.
  3. Save the File: Save the file with a “.desktop” extension, for example, “yourapplication.desktop”.
  4. Move the .desktop File: Use the mv command to move the .desktop file to the ~/.local/share/applications directory.
    mv yourapplication.desktop ~/.local/share/applications
    The mv command moves files or directories from one place to another.
  5. Run the .jar File: You should now be able to find your application in the application launcher and run it from there.


In this article, we have covered three different ways to make a .jar file executable in Ubuntu using OpenJDK: using the command line, using the GUI, and creating a launcher. Choose the method that best suits your needs and comfort level. Happy coding!

What is a .jar file?

A .jar file, short for Java Archive, is a file format used to package Java classes and resources into a single compressed file. It is commonly used for distributing Java applications or libraries.

How do I install OpenJDK on Ubuntu?

You can install OpenJDK on Ubuntu by running the command sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk in the Terminal. This command will install OpenJDK 8 JDK, but you can replace 8 with the desired version number if needed.

Can I make any .jar file executable?

In general, any .jar file can be made executable using the methods mentioned in this guide. However, it is important to note that the .jar file must contain a valid Java application or library for it to execute successfully.

How do I navigate to a directory in the Terminal?

To navigate to a directory in the Terminal, you can use the cd command followed by the directory path. For example, to navigate to the Downloads folder, you would use cd ~/Downloads. The ~ symbol represents the home directory.

What does the `chmod +x` command do?

The chmod +x command is used to change the permissions of a file and make it executable. The +x option adds the execute permission to the file, allowing it to be run as a program.

Can I use a custom icon for my .jar file launcher?

Yes, you can use a custom icon for your .jar file launcher. In the launcher creation method mentioned in this guide, you can specify the path to your desired icon image by replacing "/path/to/your/icon.png" with the actual path to the image file.

How can I undo the executable permission for a .jar file?

If you want to remove the executable permission from a .jar file, you can use the chmod -x command followed by the file name. For example, chmod -x yourfile.jar will remove the execute permission from the file.

Can I execute a .jar file without OpenJDK installed?

No, you need to have OpenJDK or another Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed on your system in order to execute a .jar file. The Java runtime provides the necessary environment to run Java applications.

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