Installing the JDK
First, you need the Java Development Kit (JDK) from Oracle. This is the actual compiler that your development environment (IDE) uses behind the scenes. Even if you already have Java installed, you probably still need this. (Most people only have the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) installed, which allows you to run existing Java programs but not compile new ones.)
Direct your web browser to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/
Mac OS X
Good news! The JDK is usually installed by default on Macs, so just open up "Terminal" and try the compiler check assignment.
On Debian-based distros (such as Ubuntu), you should be able to open up a terminal and install the JDK like so:
user@w3clan:~$ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk
An Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
Although you can create Java programs in any text editor and compile/run them from the command-line, most students are more comfortable with an Integrated Development Environment that handles these things for them.
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