Saturday, 11 April 2009

Java: Bad CPU id in executable

Here is a weird one:

Recently i have been doing a lot of java work, and many of the packages I use need to have Java_HOME set. So normally
i just add this line to my /etc/profile

JAVA_HOME=/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Home; export JAVA_HOME

Works just fine on my Macbook, and my recent 2009 Mac Mini. However i have an older 2006 Intel Mac Mini, the older Core Duo type, rather than the newer Core 2 Duo versions. Its been out of action for a few months due to a failed Hard Drive, but recently I revived it by buying a suitable hard drive from PCWorld and attacking the machine with a putty knife. (upgrading the ram whilst i was in there).

Everything seemed to be working fine, re-installed the OS, and I took the opportunity whilst i had a virgin system to document and automate the installation of my EC2 management scripts. Everything swam along fine until I actually tried to use the EC2 management scripts where upon I got the dreaded message "java: Bad CPU Id in executable" WTF....

Googling the error did not seem to help, so back to the drawing board, and take a microscope to the machine.

I checked the target directories, they are fine, in the "versions" directory under the java framework I can see 1.42, 1.50 and 1.60. so what is happening.

The first clue is that the java preferences applet does not list the 1.6.0 version as available.... Hmm why not????

The second clue is that switching to version 1.5.0 in the JAVA_HOME statement makes it all work.

The answer is that Apple never released a 32bit version of Java 1.6, but to rub salt into the wounds they load a perfectly non-functional 64bit version onto all 32bit only boxes. Ouch...

Come on Apple, there is no reason to limit java 1.6 to 64bit only, and even if there is, why on earth load a nonfunctional 64bit framework onto 32bit machines?

Shakes head in amazement.......


Anonymous said...

I just bought a send-handed MacBook, and spent whole day trying to make Java 1.6 work but in vain. Your post relieved me actually. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


(thanks for explaining it though)