Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

No Joy with Java

After stumbling across a thread on the Lockergnome forums, I came across a program called Excelsior JET, a program that converts compiled Java programs into Windows 32-bit portable executables. What’s more, the ‘personal edition‘ is free for personal, non-commercial use, which is all I’m going to use it for.

It promises to allow your Java programs to run without needing to download Sun’s Java Runtime Environment (JRE), and makes them faster, which was something I complained about in an earlier post. Though obviously it ruins the concept of a Java program running on any platform, but hey, you can’t have everything.

So, after downloading all 9MB of it, I ran it. Now, when you install JET, it does a compile of your JDK – Java Software Development Kit, which is Sun’s Java Compiler, freely available from Sun’s Java site. This apparently takes 30-60 minutes, but on my poor little laptop, took close to 3 hours. I eventually left it overnight as the process was hogging memory and CPU resources.

Anyway, it worked, so this morning I tried to process TulipChain, an automated link checker for the ODP. However, TulipChain requires version 1.4 of the JDK (or above), and I only had 1.3.1. So I had to download 1.4.1.

I also only had version 1.4 of the JRE, so I decided to update that. Except it wouldn’t – it would freeze late on in the install (when it configures the JAR Java ARchives). Eventually I wound up ditching the partially installed 1.4.1, plus to flavours of 1.4 which were also on there (bearing in mind that Java takes up about 37MB per install, and I had 3), along with the old 1.3.1 JDK.

I then installed a fresh copy of 1.4.0_01, which worked fine, but had problems downloading the JDK. To put it into context, the JDK is a whopping 37MB, yet the server kept cutting out at about 6MB. It meant using Star Downloader, a non-evil download manager, to download the file in bits and then compiling the thing together, which fortunately worked. After all this, I finally had working installations of both the JDK and JRE, both at version 1.4.0.

But now JET needed to be reconfigured for version 1.4.0. And since Sun have only released a multi-lingual version (instead of a US-English only release), it’s taking twice as long. It’s now nearly half past 4 in the afternoon, and it was started shortly before 11am. It’s at 93%, so it should soon be finished, but I think 6 hours is a little excessive. It’s not like the machine is that old anyway.

I’ve been using my parent’s computer today as a result, since I can actually do things – the memory is almost at 100% usage on mine, which makes doing anything on it near-impossible. And this is with unloading just about everything – even things like ZoneAlarm. Well, if the machine has no internet connection, there’s not much point in having it running, is there?

Java frustrations are about the last thing I need this week, as Java is the theme of Thursday’s lab test. Remind me to revise, will you?

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