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Installing Java 1.1.6- by Chris Wenham
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Summary: In order to use it, you gotta install it. Detailed instructions for installing the latest Java Virtual Machine on your OS/2 system.

To start using Java applications on your PC today you need to have a Java Virtual Machine installed. The only one we're aware of for OS/2 at this time is the one developed by IBM themselves. Fortunately for us, it's one of the best and the fastest for any platform. To install Java 1.1.6 you'll need two other items installed first:

  • Netscape Navigator 2.02, or Communicator 4.04 for OS/2
  • Feature Install 1.2 or higher

Both can be downloaded for free from IBM's Software Choice web page.

Feature Install is actually a Netscape plugin for OS/2. Since Java for OS/2 uses a web-browser based install method, it needs a way to actually query your hard drives for available space, create the install directories, copy the files and modify the CONFIG.SYS - things that cannot be done in HTML alone. We don't know why IBM chose this method instead of the usual IBM Install program that Navigator/Communicator itself uses, but there you go.

To install Feature Install, simply unzip the archive into a temporary directory and run "FISETUP.EXE". Once it's done, you can delete the contents of the temporary directory and the downloaded archive. The plugin will have been installed to Navigator or Communicator's PLUGINS directory (the file is called "NPFI.DLL" if you're curious.)

Next you need to download Java itself (also available at Software Choice.) At the time of writing we recommend Java 1.1.6, as the preview of 1.1.7 has been found to have a few bugs in it that affect at least one of the programs we tested in this review. It comes in two different configurations, one with the Unicode font and another without. The Unicode font, a version of Times New Roman, is about 12 megabytes in size (for one font!!) - but that's thanks to it containing most of the World (and especially Asian) alphabets in it. If you have no need of viewing documents or running programs that use more than the standard western alphabet, you won't need the Unicode version.

Once you've chosen and downloaded the version of Java that you want, just unzip it into a temporary directory and run the INSTALL.EXE program. It'll start up a session of Netscape or Communicator - loading the first page of the installation into it. From there it'll guide you through an easy or an advanced version of the process. After you've made your selections and its finished installing, shut down the computer and reboot. When you come back, Java will be fully installed and you can delete the contents of the temporary directory.

Copyright © 1998 - Falcon Networking ISSN 1203-5696
October 16, 1998