Installing and Running Aptana on Ubuntu 8.10 (Ubuntu Intrepid)

Since Linux distributions started shipping with Firefox 3 Aptana has become harder and harder to get running error free. After getting a nice fresh Ubuntu 8.10 install running my first task was to get Aptana running so that in a pinch I could belt out some code and get myself paid.

There are only a couple of steps required to get Aptana running on Ubuntu 8.10. Install Java and install Firefox 2. Don’t panic I have never had trouble doing this despite the warning bells you are probably hearing. Firefox 2 and 3 can happily be installed on the same machine without argument.

Step 1: Install Java on Ubuntu

Simple, hardly requires a step.

  1. Go to Applications -> Add/Remove
  2. Change the Show drop down to read “All Available Applications”
  3. Search for Java
  4. Tick and Install Sun Java 6 Runtime – feel free to use one of the others, your choice but I can’t vouch for them working – Aptana says they prefer Sun and that is good enough for me.

Step 2: Install Firefox 2 on Ubuntu 8.10

The theory here is simple. Change your package sources to Ubuntu 7.10 (Gusty Gibbon) ones, which make Firefox 2 available, install Firefox 2, and then revert your package sources.

Back up our existing source list to make it easy to revert later.

sudo mv /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.original

Create a new package source list

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Paste the following list of package sources into this new file and save and close it.

deb hardy partner
deb hardy main universe restricted multiverse
deb hardy-security universe main multiverse restricted
deb hardy-updates universe main multiverse restricted
deb hardy free non-free

Update using the new (well technically old) package source and install Firefox Two.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox-2

Step 3: Cleaning up the mess and getting the system back to usable

Copy back our original package source list

sudo mv /etc/apt/sources.list.original /etc/apt/sources.list

Update your package sources for next time.

sudo apt-get update

Step 4: Downloading and Running Aptana on Ubuntu 8.10

  1. Download Aptana from
  2. Create a script to launch it with the correct settings
    1. Create a new text file called startAptana in your home directory
    2. Add the following
    3. #!/bin/bash
      export MOZILLA_FIVE_HOME=/usr/lib/firefox
    4. Make the file executable by running
    5. sudo chmod a+x startAptana
    6. from the Terminal

All things being equal you should now be able to ./startAptana and away you go.


If you get Java errors and can not find JRE messages change



/usr/local/aptana/AptanaStudio -vm /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun-

(or whatever the path to your Java runtime is) in your startAptana file


  1. Brandon Eubanks says

    Weird I’ve had no problems just upgraded to 8.10, CSS, HTML, Java editing seemed to work just fine
    Ubuntu 8.10 AMD64
    Eclipse Ganymede SDK 3.41 Build ID:M20080911-1700
    Aptana Pro (trial)
    Subversion 1.2.4
    No errors whatsoever here in intrepid, nor before in hardy

  2. says

    I think the key for you was upgrading – the issue with Aptana is that is requires files (and files in locations) that the Firefox 2 install provides. If you are upgrading form a system that has previously had Firefox 2 (even if you upgraded to 3) you should be OK.

  3. atom says

    thank you very much, this was the most reasonable guide I found on doing this. Now how about one that details adding PDT to Aptana ;)

  4. Xavier Gómez says

    thanks you. It works perfectly for me.

    Just one more thing to improve the post, it may mean that you must move the aptana folder (that you downloaded) to "/usr/local/aptana"

    Cheers from barcelona!

  5. Tuan Anh says

    Thank you for this tutorial. I've read many tuts on net, but no one says about Firefox-2. No i have Aptana on my computer.

    Thanks a lot

  6. morion4000 says

    hello! me again… can I translate your tutorial into romanian and post it to my web blog (with a back-link to your post, of course)?

    thank you in advance!

  7. AlSayed Gamal says

    Great :)
    My notes are:
    1- sudo mv aptana /usr/local
    2- It must not be br.* repos I'm from Egypt and it's eg :)

    Thank you :)

  8. Peter Severin says

    Aptana and Ubuntu make for a great web development platform. Perhaps you and your readers would be interested to find out about WireframeSketcher wireframing/prototyping plugin. I've recently added support for Aptana Studio 1.5 so give it a try. I should mention that it's a commercial product but I give away free licenses to open-source developers, bloggers, non-profits and others.


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