It is always important to know how to install and setup your operating system, one for general-use, two it helps if you system is configured properly for installing future applications. Typically, the developer will not go out of his/her way to prepare for every operating-system configuration, we try our best though.
This small setup will go over simple java based setups for a RPM based linux distro, for example Mandrake(9.1/10) or Redhat 8.0/9.0
The JAVA 1.4.2 SDK can be found from the java.sun.com site. For example, I have downloaded the 'Download J2SE v 1.4.2_04 SDK with NetBeans 3.6 Bundle', 6/10/2004, the linux version is 90 MB. Download the '.bin' to a standard directory, for example, I always like $HOME_DIR/java/ [install-here]. and run: ./some_java_1.4.2_04_install.bin The netbeans/java bundle launches a GUI install program, I typically click through the steps. I make one change when asked for the install-directory, I normally 'insert' 'java' between the the HOME_DIR and java-1.4.2. Here is where java is installed on my system: /home/SOME_USER/java/j2sdk1.4.2_04