java

Launches a Java application.

Synopsis

java [ options ] class [ arguments ]

java [ options ] -jar file.jar [ arguments ]

javaw [ options ] class [ arguments ]

javaw [ options ] -jar file.jar [ argument ]

options

Command-line options. See Options.

class

The name of the class to be called.

file.jar

The name of the JAR file to be called. Used only with the -jar command.

arguments

The arguments passed to the main function.

Description

The java command starts a Java application. It does this by starting a Java runtime environment, loading a specified class, and calling that class's main method.

The method must be declared public and static, it must not return any value, and it must accept a String array as a parameter. The method declaration has the following form:

public static void main(String[] args)

By default, the first argument without an option is the name of the class to be called. A fully qualified class name should be used. If the -jar option is specified, then the first non-option argument is the name of a JAR file containing class and resource files for the application, with the startup class indicated by the Main-Class manifest header.

The Java runtime searches for the startup class, and other classes used, in three sets of locations: the bootstrap class path, the installed extensions, and the user class path.

Non-option arguments after the class name or JAR file name are passed to the main function.

The javaw command is identical to java, except that with javaw there is no associated console window. Use javaw when you do not want a command prompt window to appear. The javaw launcher will, however, display a dialog box with error information if a launch fails for some reason.

Options

The launcher has a set of standard options that are supported in the current runtime environment.

In addition, the default Java HotSpot VMs provide a set of non-standard options that are subject to change in future releases. See Nonstandard Options.

Standard Options

-client

Selects the Java HotSpot Client VM. A 64-bit capable JDK currently ignores this option and instead uses the Java Hotspot Server VM.

For default Java VM selection, see the Server-Class Machine Detection page at
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/technotes/guides/vm/server-class.html

-server

Selects the Java HotSpot Server VM. On a 64-bit capable JDK, only the Java Hotspot Server VM is supported so the -server option is implicit.

For default a Java VM selection, see the Server-Class Machine Detection page at
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/technotes/guides/vm/server-class.html

-agentlib:libname[=options]

Loads native agent library libname, for example:

-agentlib:hprof
 
-agentlib:jdwp=help
 
-agentlib:hprof=help

See JVMTI Agent Command-Line Options at
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/platform/jvmti/jvmti.html#starting

-agentpath:pathname[=options]

Loads a native agent library by full pathname.

-classpath classpath
-cp classpath

Specifies a list of directories, JAR files, and ZIP archives to search for class files. Separate class path entries with semicolons (;). Specifying -classpath or -cp overrides any setting of the CLASSPATH environment variable.

If -classpath and -cp are not used and CLASSPATH is not set, then the user class path consists of the current directory (.).

As a special convenience, a class path element that contains a base name of * is considered equivalent to specifying a list of all the files in the directory with the extension .jar or .JAR. A Java program cannot tell the difference between the two invocations.

For example, if directory mydir contains a.jar and b.JAR, then the class path element mydir/* is expanded to a A.jar:b.JAR, except that the order of jar files is unspecified. All jar files in the specified directory, even hidden ones, are included in the list. A class path entry consisting simply of * expands to a list of all the jar files in the current directory. The CLASSPATH environment variable, where defined, will be similarly expanded. Any class path wildcard expansion occurs before the Java VM is started. No Java program will ever see wild cards that are not expanded except by querying the environment. For example, by calling System.getenv("CLASSPATH").

-Dproperty=value

Sets a system property value.

If value is a string that contains spaces, then you must enclose the string in double quotation marks:

java -Dmydir="some string" SomeClass
-disableassertions[:package name"..." | :class name ]
-da[:package name"..." | :class name ]

Disable assertions. This is the default.

With no arguments, -disableassertions or -da disables assertions. With one argument ending in "...", the switch disables assertions in the specified package and any subpackages. If the argument is "...", then the switch disables assertions in the unnamed package in the current working directory. With one argument not ending in "...", the switch disables assertions in the specified class.

To run a program with assertions enabled in package com.wombat.fruitbat but disabled in class com.wombat.fruitbat.Brickbat, the following command could be used:

java -ea:com.wombat.fruitbat... -da:com.wombat.fruitbat.Brickbat <Main Class>

The -disableassertions and -da switches apply to all class loaders and to system classes (which do not have a class loader). There is one exception to this rule: in their no-argument form, the switches do not apply to system. This makes it easy to turn on asserts in all classes except for system classes. The -disablesystemassertions option provides a separate swith to enable assertions in all system classes.

-enableassertions[:package name"..." | :class name ]
-ea[:package name"..." | :class name ]

Enable assertions. Assertions are disabled by default.

With no arguments, -enableassertions or -ea enables assertions. With one argument ending in "...", the switch enables assertions in the specified package and any subpackages. If the argument is "...", then the switch enables assertions in the unnamed package in the current working directory. With one argument not ending in "...", the switch enables assertions in the specified class.

If a single command contains multiple instances of these switches, then they are processed in order before loading any classes. So, for example, to run a program with assertions enabled only in package com.wombat.fruitbat (and any subpackages), the following command could be used:

java -ea:com.wombat.fruitbat... <Main Class>

The -enableassertions and -ea switches apply to all class loaders and to system classes (which do not have a class loader). There is one exception to this rule: in their no-argument form, the switches do not apply to system. This makes it easy to turn on asserts in all classes except for system classes. The -enablesystemassertions option provides a separate switch to enable assertions in all system classes.

-enablesystemassertions
-esa

Enable assertions in all system classes (sets the default assertion status for system classes to true).

-disablesystemassertions
-dsa

Disables assertions in all system classes.

-help or -?

Displays usage information and exit.

-jar

Executes a program encapsulated in a JAR file. The first argument is the name of a JAR file instead of a startup class name. For this option to work, the manifest of the JAR file must contain a line in the form Main-Class: classname. Here, classname identifies the class with the public static void main(String[] args) method that serves as your application's starting point.

When you use this option, the JAR file is the source of all user classes, and other user class path settings are ignored.

-javaagent:jarpath[=options]

Loads a Java programming language agent. For more information about instrumenting Java applications, see the java.lang.instrument package description in the Java API documentation at http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/api/java/lang/instrument/package-summary.html

-jre-restrict-search

Includes user-private JREs in the version search.

-no-jre-restrict-search

Excludes user-private JREs in the version search.

-showversion

Displays version information and continue. (See also -version.)

-splash:imagepath

Shows splash screen with image specified by imagepath.

-verbose
-verbose:class

Displays information about each class loaded.

-verbose:gc

Reports on each garbage collection event.

-verbose:jni

Reports information about use of native methods and other Java Native Interface activity.

-version

Displays version information and exit. See also the -showversion option.

-version:release

Specifies that the version specified by the release is required by the class or JAR file specified on the command line. If the version of the java command called does not meet this specification and an appropriate implementation is found on the system, then the appropriate implementation will be used.

The release option specifies an exact version and a list of versions called a version string. A version string is an ordered list of version ranges separated by spaces. A version range is either a version-id, a version-id followed by an asterisk (*), a version-id followed by a plus sign (+), or a version range that consists of two version-ids combined using an ampersand (&). The asterisk means prefix match, the plus sign means this version or greater, and the ampersand means the logical and of the two version-ranges, for example:

-version:"1.6.0_13 1.6*&1.6.0_10+"

The meaning of the previous example is that the class or JAR file requires either version 1.6.0_13, or a version with 1.6 as a version-id prefix and that is not less than 1.6.0_10. The exact syntax and definition of version strings can be found in Appendix A of the Java Network Launching Protocol & API Specification (JSR-56).

For JAR files, the preference is to specify version requirements in the JAR file manifest rather than on the command line.

See Notes for important policy information on the use of this option.

Nonstandard Options

-X

Displays information about nonstandard options and exits.

-Xint

Operates in interpreted-only mode. Compilation to native code is disabled, and all bytecode is executed by the interpreter. The performance benefits offered by the Java HotSpot VM client adaptive compiler is not present in this mode.

-Xbatch

Disables background compilation. Typically, the Java VM compiles the method as a background task, running the method in interpreter mode until the background compilation is finished. The -Xbatch flag disables background compilation so that compilation of all methods proceeds as a foreground task until completed.

-Xbootclasspath:bootclasspath

Specifies a semicolon-separated list of directories, JAR files, and ZIP archives to search for boot class files. These are used in place of the boot class files included in the Java platform JDK.

Applications that use this option for the purpose of overriding a class in rt.jar should not be deployed because doing so would contravene the Java Runtime Environment binary code license.

-Xbootclasspath/a:path

Specifies a semicolon-separated path of directories, JAR files, and ZIP archives to append to the default bootstrap class path.

-Xbootclasspath/p:path

Specifies a semicolon-separated path of directories, JAR files, and ZIP archives to add in front of the default bootstrap class path.

Do not deploy applications that use this option to override a class in rt.jar because this violates the Java Runtime Environment binary code license.

-Xcheck:jni

Performs additional checks for Java Native Interface (JNI) functions. Specifically, the Java Virtual Machine validates the parameters passed to the JNI function and the runtime environment data before processing the JNI request. Any invalid data encountered indicates a problem in the native code, and the Java Virtual Machine will terminate with a fatal error in such cases. Expect a performance degradation when this option is used.

-Xfuture

Performs strict class-file format checks. For backward compatibility, the default format checks performed by the Java virtual machine are no stricter than the checks performed by 1.1.x versions of the JDK software. The -Xfuture option turns on stricter class-file format checks that enforce closer conformance to the class-file format specification. Developers are encouraged to use this flag when developing new code because the stricter checks will become the default in future releases of the Java application launcher.

-Xnoclassgc

Disables class garbage collection. Use of this option preven memory recovery from loaded classes thus increasing overall memory usage. This could cause OutOfMemoryError to be thrown in some applications.

-Xincgc

Enables the incremental garbage collector. The incremental garbage collector, which is turned off by default, will reduce the occasional long garbage-collection pauses during program execution. The incremental garbage collector will at times execute concurrently with the program and during such times will reduce the processor capacity available to the program.

-Xloggc:file

Reports on each garbage collection event, as with -verbose:gc, but logs this data to a file. In addition to the information -verbose:gc gives, each reported event will be preceded by the time (in seconds) since the first garbage-collection event.

Always use a local file system for storage of this file to avoid stalling the Java VM due to network latency. The file may be truncated in the case of a full file system and logging will continue on the truncated file. This option overrides -verbose:gc when both are specified on the command line.

-Xmnsize or -XX:NewSize

Sets the size of the young generation (nursery).

-Xmsn

Specifies the initial size, in bytes, of the memory allocation pool. This value must be a multiple of 1024 greater than 1 MB. Append the letter k or K to indicate kilobytes, or m or M to indicate megabytes. The default value is chosen at runtime based on system configuration. See Garbage Collector Ergonomics at
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/technotes/guides/vm/gc-ergonomics.html

Examples:

-Xms6291456
-Xms6144k
-Xms6m
-Xmxn

Specifies the maximum size, in bytes, of the memory allocation pool. This value must a multiple of 1024 greater than 2 MB. Append the letter k or K to indicate kilobytes, or m or M to indicate megabytes. The default value is chosen at runtime based on system configuration.

For server deployments, -Xms and -Xmx are often set to the same value. See Garbage Collector Ergonomics at
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/7/docs/technotes/guides/vm/gc-ergonomics.html

Examples:

-Xmx83886080
-Xmx81920k
-Xmx80m
-Xprof

Profiles the running program, and sends profiling data to standard output. This option is provided as a utility that is useful in program development and is not intended to be used in production systems.

-Xrs

Reduces use of operating-system signals by the Java VM.

In an earlier release, the Shutdown Hooks facility was added to enable orderly shutdown of a Java application. The intent was to enable user cleanup code (such as closing database connections) to run at shutdown, even if the Java VM terminates abruptly.

The Java VM watches for console control events to implement shutdown hooks for unexpected Java VM termination. Specifically, the Java VM registers a console control handler which begins shutdown-hook processing and returns TRUE for CTRL_C_EVENT, CTRL_CLOSE_EVENT, CTRL_LOGOFF_EVENT, and CTRL_SHUTDOWN_EVENT.

The JVM uses a similar mechanism to implement the feature of dumping thread stacks for debugging purposes. The JVM uses CTRL_BREAK_EVENT to perform thread dumps.

If the Java VM is run as a service (for example, the servlet engine for a web server), then it can receive CTRL_LOGOFF_EVENT but should not initiate shutdown because the operating system will not actually terminate the process. To avoid possible interference such as this, the -Xrs command-line option was added beginning with J2SE 1.3.1. When the -Xrs option is used on the Java VM, the Java VM does not install a console control handler, implying that it does not watch for or process CTRL_C_EVENT, CTRL_CLOSE_EVENT, CTRL_LOGOFF_EVENT, or CTRL_SHUTDOWN_EVENT.

There are two consequences of specifying -Xrs:

  • Ctrl-Break thread dumps are not available.

  • User code is responsible for causing shutdown hooks to run, for example by calling System.exit() when the Java VM is to be terminated.

-Xssn

Sets the thread stack size.

-XX:AllocationPrefetchStyle=n

Sets the style of prefetch used during allocation. default=2.

-XX:+AggressiveOpts

Enables aggressive optimization.

-XX:+|-DisableAttachMechanism

Specifies whether commands (such as jmap and jconsole) can attach to the Java VM. By default, this feature is disabled. That is, attaching is enabled, for example:

java -XX:+DisableAttachMechanism
-XX:+|-FlightRecorder

Toggles the use of the Java Flight Recorder (JFR) during the runtime of the application. This is a commercial feature that requires you to also specify the -XX:+UnlockCommercialFeatures option as follows:

java -XX:UnlockCommercialFeatures -XX:+FlightRecorder
-XX:FlightRecorderOptions=parameter=value

Sets the parameters that control the behavior of JFR. This option can be used only when JFR is enabled (that is, the -XX:+FlightRecorder option is specified).

The following list contains all available JFR parameters:

defaultrecording=true|false

Specifies whether the recording is a continuous background recording or it runs for a limited time. By default, this parameter is set to false (recording runs for a limited time). To make the recording run continuously, set the parameter to true.

disk=true|false

Specifies whether JFR should write a continuous recording to disk. By default, this parameter is set to false (continuous recording to disk is disabled). To enable it, set the parameter to true., and also set defaultrecording=true.

dumponexit=true|false

Specifies whether a dump file of JFR data should be generated when the JVM terminates in a controlled manner. By default, this parameter is set to false (dump file on exit is not generated). To enable it, set the parameter to true, and also set defaultrecording=true.

The dump file is written to the location defined by the dumponexitpath parameter.

dumponexitpath=path

Specifies the path and name of the dump file with JFR data that is created when the JVM exits in a controlled manner if you set the dumponexit=true parameter. Setting the path makes sense only if you also set defaultrecording=true.

If the specified path is a directory, the JVM assigns a file name that shows the creation date and time. If the specified path includes a file name and if that file already exists, the JVM creates a new file by appending the date and time stamp to the specified file name.

globalbuffersize=size

Specifies the total amount of primary memory (in bytes) used for data retention. Append k or K, to specify the size in KB, m or M to specify the size in MB, g or G to specify the size in GB. By default, the size is set to 462848 bytes.

loglevel=quiet|terror|warning|info|debug|trace

Specify the amount of data written to the log file by JFR. By default, it is set to info.

maxage=time

Specifies the maximum age (in minutes) of disk data for default recording. By default, the maximum age is set to 15 minutes.This parameter is valid only if you set the disk=true parameter.

maxchunksize=size

Specifies the maximum size (in bytes) of the data chunks in a recording. Append k or K, to specify the size in KB, m or M to specify the size in MB, g or G to specify the size in GB. By default, the maximum size of data chunks is set to 12 MB.

maxsize=size

Specifies the maximum size (in bytes) of disk data for default recording. Append k or K, to specify the size in KB, m or M to specify the size in MB, g or G to specify the size in GB. By default, the maximum size of disk data is not limited.

This parameter is valid only if you set the disk=true parameter.

repository=path

Specifies the repository (a directory) for temporary disk storage. By default, the system's temporary directory is used.

samplethreads=true|false

Specifies whether thread sampling is enabled. thread sampling occurs only if the sampling event is enabled along with this parameter. by default, this parameter is enabled.

settings=path

Specifies the path and name of the event settings file (of type JFC). By default, the default.jfc file is used, which is located in JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/jfr.

stackdepth=depth

Stack depth for stack traces by JFR. By default, the depth is set to 64 method calls. The maximum is 2048, minimum is 1.

threadbuffersize=size

Specifies the per-thread local buffer size (in bytes). Append k or K, to specify the size in KB, m or M to specify the size in MB, g or G to specify the size in GB. Higher values for this parameter allow more data gathering without contention to flush it to the global storage. It can increase application footprint in a thread-rich environment. By default, the local buffer size is set to 5 KB.

You can specify values for multiple parameters by separating them with a comma. For example, to instruct JFR to write a continuous recording to disk, and set the maximum size of data chunks to 10 MB, specify the following:

-XX:FlightRecorderOptions=defaultrecording=true,disk=true,maxchunksize=10M
-XXLargePageSizeInBytes=n

Specifies the maximum size for large pages.

-XX:MaxGCPauseMillis=n

Sets a target for the maximum GC pause time.

This is a soft goal, and the Java VM will make its best effort to achieve it. There is no maximum value set by default.

-XX:NewSize

Sets the size of the young generation (nursery). Sames as -Xmnsize.

-XX:ParallelGCThreads=n

Sets the number of GC threads in the parallel collectors.

-XX:PredictedClassLoadCount=n

This option requires that the UnlockExperimentalVMOptions flag be set first. Use the PredictedClassLoadCount flag if your application loads a lot of classes and especially if class.forName() is used heavily. The recommended value is the number of classes loaded as shown in the output from -verbose:class.

Example:

java -XX:+UnlockExperimentalVMOptions -XX:PredictedClassLoadCount=60013
-XX:+PrintCompilation

Prints verbose output from the Java HotSpot VM dynamic runtime compiler.

-XX:+PrintGCDetails -XX:+PrintGCTimeStamps

Prints garbage collection output along with time stamps.

-XX:SoftRefLRUPolicyMSPerMB=0

This flag enables aggressive processing of software references. Use this flag if the software reference count has an impact on the Java HotSpot VM garbage collector.

-XX:StartFlightRecording=parameter=value

Starts a JFR recording for the Java application. This option is equivalent to the JFR.start diagnostic command that starts a recording during runtime. You can set the following parameters when starting a JFR recording:

compress=true|false

Specifies whether to compress the JFR recording log file (of type JFR) on the disk using the gzip file compression utility. This parameter is valid only if the filename parameter is specified. By defaut it is set to false (recording is not compressed). To enable compression, set the parameter to true.

defaultrecording=true|false

Specifies whether the recording is a continuous background recording or it runs for a limited time. By default, this parameter is set to false (recording runs for a limited time). To make the recording run continuously, set the parameter to true.

delay=time

Specifies the delay (in milliseconds) between the Java application launch time and the start of the recording. By default, there is no delay and this parameter is set to 0.

duration=time

Specifies the duration (in milliseconds) of the recording. By default, the duration is not limited.

filename=path

Specifies the path and name of the JFR recording log file.

name=identifier

Specifies the identifier for the JFR recording. By default, it is set to Recording x.

maxage=time

Specifies the maximum age (in minutes) of disk data for default recording. By default, the maximum age is set to 15 minutes.

maxsize=size

Specifies the maximum size (in bytes) of the recording before it is flushed from the thread buffer to the global buffer. Append k or K, to specify the size in KB, m or M to specify the size in MB, g or G to specify the size in GB. By default, the maximum size is not limited.

This parameter is valid only for size-bound recordings.

settings=path

Specifies the path and name of the event settings file (of type JFC). By default, the default.jfc file is used, which is located in JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/jfr.

You can specify values for multiple parameters by separating them with a comma. For example, to save the recording to test.jfr in the current working directory, and instruct JFR to compress the log file, specify the following:

-XX:StartFlightRecording=filename=test.jfr,compress=true
-XX:TLABSize=n

Thread local allocation buffers (TLAB) are enabled by default in the Java HotSpot VM. The Java HotSpot VM sizes TLABs based on allocation patterns. The -XX:TLABSize option enables fine-tuning the size of TLABs.

-XX:+UnlockCommercialFeatures

Use this flag to actively unlock the use of commercial features. Commercial features are the products Oracle Java SE Advanced or Oracle Java SE Suite, as defined at the Java SE Products web page.

If this flag is not specified, then the default is to run the Java Virtual Machine without the commercial features being available. After they are enabled, it is not possible to disable their use at runtime.

-XX:+|-UseCompressedOops

Enables compressed references in 64-bit Java VMs.

This option is true by default.

-XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC or -XX:+UseG1GC

Enables either the Concurrent Mark Sweep (CMS) or the G1 garbage collectors.

-XX:+|-UseLargePages

Enables large page support.

-XX:+UseParallelOldGC

Enables the parallel garbage collectors, which are optimized for throughput and average response time.

Notes

The -version:release option places no restrictions on the complexity of the release specification. However, only a restricted subset of the possible release specifications represent sound policy and only these are fully supported. These policies are:

  1. Any version, represented by not using this option.

  2. Any version greater than an arbitrarily precise version-id value, for example:

    "1.6.0_10+"
    

    This would utilize any version greater than 1.6.0_10. This is useful for a case where an interface was introduced (or a bug fixed) in the release specified.

  3. A version greater than an arbitrarily precise version-id, bounded by the upper bound of that release family, for example:

    "1.6.0_10+&1.6*"
    
  4. An or expressions of items 2 or 3, for example:

     "1.6.0_10+&1.6* 1.7+"
    

    Similar to item 2. This is useful when a change was introduced in a release (1.7) but also made available in updates to earlier releases.

Performance Tuning Examples

The following examples show how to use experimental tuning flags to optimize either throughput or faster response time.

Example 1Tuning for Higher Throughput
java -d64 -server -XX:+AggressiveOpts -XX:+UseLargePages -Xmn10g  -Xms26g -Xmx26g 
Example 2Tuning for Lower Response Time
 java -d64 -XX:+UseG1GC -Xms26g Xmx26g -XX:MaxGCPauseMillis=500 -XX:+PrintGCTimeStamps 

Exit Status

The following exit values are typically returned by the launcher, typically when the launcher is called with the wrong arguments, serious errors, or exceptions thrown from the Java Virtual Machine. However, a Java application may choose to return any value using the API call System.exit(exitValue).

  • 0: Successful completion

  • >0: An error occurred

See Also


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