Operating System: Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit)
After installing OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 (OOo for short) without the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) (filename: OOo_3.0.1_Win32Intel_install_en-US.exe), the option to register my copy had come up but the regular wizard did not run as expected. I had forgotten to install the JRE since I recently reformatted my PC. Oops.
Regardless, I wanted to see just how much functionality was missing from OOo and so I opened up the OpenOffice.org launch application. First, I tried to use the Registration wizard again, but I got the following error below:
I’m glad I got this error, as it confirmed that OpenOffice.org knew that the JRE was not installed. But before I installed the JRE, I wanted to try out what else wouldn’t work and the only thing I found that wouldn’t work properly was OpenOffice.org Base, the database application. I could select what database I wanted to create or open, but the application itself would not load; I was simply in a wizard. My problem with OOo Base is that it had no error message to alert the user as to why it wasn’t opening. A silent failure.
Enough play, I thought; it was time to install the Java SE Development Kit (JDK) (NOTE: You could have just as well installed the regular JRE, but I do some Java development from time-to-time so I require the JDK’s tools). I selected the JDK 6 Update 12 x64 installer for 64-bit Windows (filename: jdk-6u12-windows-x64-p.exe). Installation went perfectly, and I even rebooted just to make sure all environmental variables were set.
Once again, I booted up the OOo launcher and selected the Registration icon… but I was met with the same error as above! I did some digging in the OOo directory tree, but I did not have enough time to go through the OOo directories (a file tree is available here) (NOTE: this is the Windows directory structure) and figure out how to hook up the JRE to it. If the only remedy is to re-install OpenOffice.org, I would consider this a problem in usability. I still need to investigate this further to make sure I did not miss anything.
Problems Encountered / Investigation Needed
- OpenOffice.org Base fails to launch and display an error when the JRE is not installed (or detected)
- OOo does not detect the JRE after installation
- Problem with 64-bit libraries?
- Windows-specific error?
On 23 March 2009, Java 6 Update 13 was released which has fixed the Java detection issue with OpenOffice.org.
Once the Java 1.6.0_13 Update is installed, you can select which Java Runtime you wish to use from the Tools > Options > OpenOffice.org > Java menu in any instance of OOo. From my limited reading on the subject, this was a problem with the technique to detect a JRE on a Windows machine by only checking that certain environmental variables were set. I wonder if this is still bug-worthy.