Installing Maven on Ubuntu 11.10

For some reason I can’t possibly fathom Linux seems to have a downer on all things Java. Packages are available for most things but they are invariably not the latest version which means performing a manual install – not the end of the world but irritating when you can just install a package for most things. This page gives a quick overview of how to install Maven 3 on Ubuntu 11.10 but the same (or a very similar) process will work on most distributions.

​Download and Install

Since I’m installing the software manually I like to keep it away from the other software on the system and install it under my /data folder. I use this folder for anything I install on the system and, as the name suggests, data. Firstly download the latest version of Maven 3 from the Maven site and unpack it in /data, for example.

cd /data
tar -xzvf apache-maven-3.0.3-bin.tar.gz

This will leave you with a folder called apache-maven-3.0.3 under the data directory. I now create a link to this called apache-maven as that makes updating easier when new point realeases come out.

ln -s apache-maven-3.0.3/ apache-maven

​Setting up the Environment

Before you can use maven at a command prompt you need to tell your system where to find it and provide some other environment variables. There are several places where you can include environment variables (more info: but the correct one in this case is /etc/environment.

Open the environment file

sudo emacs /etc/environment

If you haven’t made any changes since you installed Ubuntu it will probably look something like this.


Just one line defining your system path. As an aside, if you leave emacs and enter echo $PATH at a command prompt you’ll see the path set above. Now modify your environment file such that it looks like the one below. E.g. add maven to the path variable and add the java and maven environment variables. If you do happen to have more in your environment file don’t touch or remove the other lines as it’s likely that other applications are relying on them.



It is necessary to log out and log back in for the new environment variables to take effect because your shell takes a cached copy when you log in. Once you have logged back in execute the command

mvn -version

You should see output something like this

Apache Maven 3.0.3 (r1075438; 2011-02-28 17:31:09+0000)
Maven home: /data/apache-maven
Java version: 1.6.0_22, vendor: Sun Microsystems Inc.
Java home: /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk/jre
Default locale: en_GB, platform encoding: UTF-8
OS name: "linux", version: "2.6.38-11-generic", arch: "amd64", family: "unix"
That’s it, your done. Oh yeah, my reason for doing this was to get the Hudson continuous intergration server up and running building my current project.