Eclipse 3.2 crashing with Subclipse on Ubuntu 8.04

2008-08-02 update

Although the post is in Spanish, one of my colleagues (and consequently I also did) installed Eclipse Ganymede manually on his Ubuntu 8.04 and it works beautifully (although it uses even more memory). Check out the article.

Original post:

I know, I should report all this properly in the Eclipse bug-tracking utility, but the truth is I don’t know how to explain it. Since I’ve been using Eclipse (about 2 years ago), I get into a systematic crash loop about every 4 months. I have to wait for that long to get some kind of weird behaviour where Eclipse will crash every single time when trying to update a file.

I’ve started to narrow it down… Obviously, it is due to Java 6 and Java 7. I’ve tried running Eclipse (3.2) with GCJ and that works without crashing, but the speed is incredibly slow (takes about 30 seconds to show 80 characters of a line after I’ve input them on my keyboard).

So, based on that, I would say it’s due to Java 6 or 7.

I haven’t been able to narrow it down to a specific use of one plugin though, so I don’t know exactly how good or bad the PHPEclipse plugin is for my system overall, but in any case it doesn’t help.

Now this is a little procedure I’m writing for myself, for 4 months from now, to try and make it easier to re-install completely Eclipse, as it really seems that this is the only way to fix it.

$ apt-get remove eclipse eclipse-platform eclipse-source eclipse-rcp eclipse-pde eclipse-jdt

$ dpkg –purge eclipse eclipse-platform

$ sudo rm -rf /usr/lib/eclipse

$ sudo rm -rf /var/www/.metadata (this is my workspace)

$ sudo rm -rf ~/.eclipse

$ sudo apt-get install eclipse

Then, of course, I have to reinstall all my plugins (subclipse, phpeclipse, epic-perl, xmlbuddy) from inside Eclipse



EPIC Perl:

Every project then needs to be re-built inside Eclipse.

Note that the PHPEclipse in nightly release ( will not work, most of the time. Don’t try, you’ll loose time. The install works and then as soon as you try opening a PHP file it breaks on a “Null pointer exception” error (with the version of Eclipse available in Ubuntu 8.04, that is).

By the way, the most efficient Java runtime environment (JRE) for Eclipse so far is java-6-sun on Ubuntu 8.04, so don’t try to use it with gcj, it’s just incredibly slower. To make it use java-6-sun, make sure that your /etc/eclipse/java_home file contains the line


first, uncommented and before any other JRE line.

Obivously though, after my latest experiment, this does not work. As soon as a file is updated, the Subclipse plugin draws the complete Eclipse IDE down. Removing the Subclipse plugin (1.2.x) fixes the problem. I’m still working on finding the details…

Removing and re-installing the Subclipse plugin can be done (if you have installed it with a user-centered install) by removing all subclipse directories from ~/.eclipse/ and then restarting Eclipse and re-installing it. For some reason, if you don’t clean the directories first, Eclipse won’t let you select the package from the packages list. However, after many attempts, I have successfully identified the bugging factor, and it is the Subclipse plugin. Since I have stopped using it, I have no more problems.


If you are experiencing problems with Eclipse 3.2 on Ubuntu with heavy Subversion usage, I recommend you first try to remove subclipse (you can do that by removing all subclipse directories in ~/.eclipse) and then see if your problem still appears.

I am a bit too busy at the moment to file a complete bug report, but if someone wants to tell me how to do that and who to send it to, I can probably spare a few minutes crashing my Eclipse again.

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  1. Considering the enormous amount of you guys checking this article (about 10 per day) and obviously checking for more info about Subclipse on Ubuntu 8.04 (and other platforms), I really think there is something wrong with the Subclipse plugin.
    And I must say I’m annoyed of having to deal with enormous projects like Dokeos and Dolibarr without being able to do a visual SVN diff from time to time, or seeing which files are not synchronised…

  2. I tried u r procedure to uninstall eclipse 3.2. its showing me this error:
    $ apt-get remove eclipse eclipse-platform eclipse-source eclipse-rcp eclipse-pde eclipse-jdt
    E: Could not open lock file /var/lib/dpkg/lock – open (13 Permission denied)
    E: Unable to lock the administration directory (/var/lib/dpkg/), are you root?

    what u want me to do next, thanks in advance

    • I would recommend you read the error message more carefully. If you are not root when doing this, try using sudo:
      $ sudo apt-get remove eclipse eclipse-platform eclipse-source eclipse-rcp eclipse-pde eclipse-jdt

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