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Improve Java support on your NetWare 5.1 server with Java 1.3

NetWare 5.1 ships with Java 1.17b, but you can get added features and improved Java support on your NetWare server by upgrading to Java 1.3. In this Daily Feature, John Sheesley shows you how.


The version of Java that comes with NetWare 5.x, Java 1.17b, is a stable version that runs most Java applications, but not all of them. Some Java applications require you to run Java 1.3 on your server. If you encounter one of these applications, Novell has provided a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that runs Java 1.3 applications. In this Daily Feature, I’ll explain where to get Java 1.3 and how to install it on your NetWare 5.x server.

Why you should use Java 1.3
Even though Java is supposed to make your life easier as a network administrator by allowing you to run the same code on multiple platforms, it’s not quite that simple. There are several different versions of Java that you must contend with, along with the idiosyncrasies of Java that occur from platform to platform.

One of the most complicated things you’ll encounter is the difference between Java 1.1x and Java 1.3. NetWare 5.x ships with Java 1.1x. NetWare 6 ships with Java 1.3. Most Java applications written for the Java 1.1x versions will run on Java 1.3 JVMs, but not vice versa.

Java 1.3 is based on Sun’s Java 2 specification. It’s much more powerful than Java 1.1x and is designed for enterprise-level applications. Java 1.3 contains classes and methods not found in Java 1.1x that allow it to do more. Java 1.1x’s main advantage is that it’s more prevalent than Java 1.3, meaning that applications written to the Java 1.1x standard will run on more platforms.

Although Java applications are notoriously sluggish on just about any platform, Java 1.3 is considerably faster than Java 1.1x. On our test server, loading something simple like the server GUI occurred in half the time using Java 1.3 as opposed to Java 1.17b.

As you download Java applications from Sun’s Web site or other Java programming Web sites and try to deploy them on your NetWare server, you’ll probably find that your version of Java doesn’t work with them. Fortunately, Novell has addressed this problem by updating NetWare Java support to 1.3.

Where do I get it?
You can obtain Java 1.3 for your NetWare server from Novell’s Novell JVM for NetWare v1.3.1 Web site. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a Download button. When you click it, you’ll see a DeveloperNet login screen. If you don’t already belong to DeveloperNet, you’ll need to follow the directions on the screen to set up an account. Don’t worry about having to pay for anything; there’s a free subscription level you can choose.

The name of the file you’ll download is JVM13.EXE. Save it to a temporary location on your administration workstation. The file is over 42 MB long, so it may take some time to download.

Unlike most executables that you download from Novell, JVM13.EXE isn’t a self-extracting executable. It is the complete installation program for Java 1.3 on your server. So, before you run JVM13.EXE, you must first prepare your server.

Preparing your server to run Java 1.3
Java 1.3 has additional system requirements over the Java 1.17b version. For Java 1.17b system requirements, see the Daily Drill Down “Get Java applications brewing on your NetWare servers.” One of the key requirements is Java 1.3’s video support. Java 1.3 won’t support standard VGA resolutions of 640 x 480 with 16 colors. Your video card must be SVGA-compatible with a minimum resolution of 640 x 480 and 256 colors.

Additionally, this version of Java requires that you have a mouse attached to your server. With Java 1.17b, you could run Java applications without a mouse. It was difficult to navigate, but Java would let you do it.

Unlike Java 1.17b, which can run on NetWare 5.0, your server must be running NetWare 5.1. Additionally, you should make sure you’ve applied the latest support pack on your server. For NetWare 5.1, that’s currently Support Pack 3.

To install Java 1.3, first unload your current version of Java. You don’t have to uninstall Java; just unload the NLMs by going to the server’s console prompt, typing unload java, and pressing [Enter].

Next, make sure you’ve installed the latest Novell client on your administration workstation. Unlike other NetWare patches and upgrades, the Java 1.3 upgrade installs from your administration workstation rather than from your server. The workstation must be running Novell’s client—not Microsoft’s. Novell claims the workstation can run Windows 9x, NT Workstation, or Windows 2000, but during testing, I had problems getting the installation to work on my Windows 2000 Professional workstation running Novell Client 4.81. Using the same client on a Windows NT Workstation machine worked fine, however.

Installing Java 1.3
To install Java 1.3, double-click the JAVA13.EXE file on your administrative workstation. You’ll notice that the files extract to a temporary directory. When they finish, the Novell Developer Kit Setup Novell JVM For NetWare screen appears. Bypass the Welcome screen by clicking Next. Then, read through and accept the license agreement.

You’ll next see the Installation Components screen, which is informational only. If you’re curious, you can scroll the list box to see everything that the Setup wizard is going to do; otherwise, just click Next.

You’ll then see the Destination Server For NDK Components screen. This screen lists all of the servers on your network that can accept the upgrade. If you run NetWare 4.x and NetWare 5.0 servers on your network, you’ll notice that they are conspicuously absent; remember, Java 1.3 can only run on NetWare 5.1 or NetWare 6 servers. You can select all of your NetWare 5.1 servers at the same time and upgrade them all together if you want. Select the server or servers you want to upgrade and click Next.

Then, you'll see the Start Copying Files screen, which allows you to check your selections before the copy process begins. Click Next to start the process. Before the Setup wizard copies files, it will quickly check your servers to make sure they’re ready for the upgrade. If Java is still loaded on your server, the Setup wizard will display an error reminding you to unload Java on the server before continuing. If you must unload Java, do so and then click Yes to clear the error.

Setup will then continue without interruption, copying files onto your server. The actual amount of time the process takes will vary depending on the speed of your network, server, and workstation, among other things. You’ll see a progress indicator bar that will let you know how close the upgrade is to completion.

The Setup Wizard may display a message indicating that there are Read Only files on your server that need to be changed. This will occur if you have an older version of Java on your server. Just click Yes to allow Setup to overwrite the files.

After the files finish copying, you’re ready to go. Setup will display a Finish screen that includes a check box that you can select to view the README file for Java 1.3. You should review the README file to check for any last-minute changes Novell has made to the Java 1.3 packages. Click Finish to close the wizard. Then, shut down your server and restart it so the new version of Java will take effect.

When your server restarts, you can check the version of Java you’re running to make sure it’s correct by typing java –version at the server’s console prompt. Your NetWare server should then respond with Java version 1.3.0 along with the latest version of the Symantec JustInTime Complier, which is 3.10.110.

Your server GUI should restart with no problem when your server starts back up. If you do see an error, you can reconfigure the GUI by typing vesa_rsp at the server console and pressing [Enter]. This will reconfigure the video support on your server to the SVGA level. Then, when you load Startx, your GUI should run normally.

Hey! There’s new stuff here!
When the server GUI starts, you may notice some new selections from the Novell menu. If you click Novell, the first thing you’ll see is a Run command. Using it, you can execute Java applications or load NLMs directly from the GUI without having to type the commands from the server’s console prompt.

Next, if you select Utilities from the Novell menu, you’ll see the following choices:
  • Console Log—Allows you to view the console log generated by CONLOG.NLM
  • Editor—Allows you to edit text files on your server from the GUI
  • File Browser—Acts as File Manager for the NetWare GUI (You can cut, copy, paste, and edit text files from the File Browser.)
  • NetWare Remote Manager—A simple Web browser that you can use to access Web sites and servers running the NetWare Web Manager
  • Server Console—Opens a window in the GUI to your server’s console prompt

Conclusion
To take advantage of Java on your NetWare 5.1 server, you should upgrade to Java 1.3. It supports all of the latest Java applications, it's faster, and it includes several new utilities for the server GUI.

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