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Getting Started (Very Preliminarily) with JavaFX 2.1 Developer Preview on Linux

Posted by editor on January 24, 2012 at 4:21 PM PST

Yesterday, Jonathan Giles announced that the JavaFX 2.1 Developer Preview, build 09, is available for Windows, Mac and Linux! Jonathan says, "From here on out we'll be putting out developer preview builds for all three platforms." That this is news that a lot of people have been long awaiting is shown by the immediate response (seven comments) to Jonathan's brief (three sentences) announcement.

I've been waiting for this myself, since I'm starting work on a new open source project (related to efficient use of multicore processors in desktop applications), and I've wanted to be able to use JavaFX as a front end for my demos (or, at least offer it as an option). My preferred platform is Linux (though I also have an old MacBook and a Windows machine). My primary development machine runs CentOS 5.5 (equivalent to RedHat Enterprise Linux, but with no non-free packages).

So, let's get started!

Before you download JavaFX 2.1 build b09, you must accept the OTN License Agreement (I looked for a link to the license, just for reference, but didn't immediately find it). Also, I had to log in to my Oracle account in order to actually receive the download.

The Mac OS X and Linux downloads are in zip format. Once I'd logged in, I was able to save the file, javafx_sdk-2_1_0-beta-b09-linux-i586-17_jan_2012.zip, onto my system. At present, there isn't a link that provides installation instructions for the Linux edition. An

unzip javafx_sdk-2_1_0-beta-b09-linux-i586-17_jan_2012.zip

creates a javafx-sdk2.1.0-beta directory. Diving into that, you'll see COPYRIGHT.html, README.html, THIRDPARTYLICENSEREADME.txt, and directories bin, docs, rt, and tools. README.html sends you to Oracle's JavaSE README page, which includes README's for the JavaFX 2.0 runtime and SDK. So, that's not your path to installing JavaFX 2.1 on Linux.

Poking around a bit more, it suddenly dawned on me that maybe the unzip operation itself was the install. Aside from PATH settings, of course (since I did the unzip in a somewhat arbitrary location).

The docs subdirectory consists of documentation of the API itself. The bin subdirectory contains the javafxpackager, a shell script internally documented as being the "JavaFX Packager tool execution script for Linux/Solaris/OS X."

It's interesting that OS X is lumped in with Linux and Solaris, right? So, I clicked the Mac OS X installation instructions and release notes link, which brings you to a page titled "JavaFX 2.1 Developer Preview for Mac OS X Release Notes." This page includes a link to instructions for setting up NetBeans with JavaFX 2.0 -- which is how I was planning on getting started anyway. It also talks about the JavaFX Samples available on the downloads page; but, again, there is no link for "Linux" in that section of the page.

The next step in my investigation will be to see if I can get any of the simple Mac OS samples work under Linux. Whether that works out or not, the step after that will be to see if I can make my own first very simple JavaFX app that runs on CentOS Linux.


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