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I'm running OS X Lion. It comes with JRE6. I'd like to install JRE8. I can download a file that Oracle says is JRE 8 here:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jre8-downloads-2133155.html

When I check my java version on the command line (after installing JRE 8), I get this:

hostname:~ username$ java -version
java version "1.6.0_65"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_65-b14-462-11M4609)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.65-b04-462, mixed mode)

hostname:~ username$ which java
/usr/bin/java

hostname:~ username$ ls -al /usr/bin/java
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  74 Dec 20  2013 /usr/bin/java -> /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/Current/Commands/java

This matches what others have seen. So I've added my a JAVA_HOME to ~/.profile as suggested. This fixes java -version, it now reports Java 8. However, non-command-line apps still use Java 6. If I run Eclipse Luna CDT, it reports:

"Version 1.6.0_65 of the JVM is not suitable for this product. Version 1.7 or greater is required."

This makes sense--my Bash shell isn't even running when I double-click on Eclipse.

How do I actually install JRE 8?

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You can view and manage JRE versions from the Java Control Panel.

[Apple icon menu] > System Preferences > Java

That launches the Java Control Panel as a separate app which should take over as the foreground app.

Java Control Panel > Java > View…

You should be able to figure it out from there.

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  • I gave that a try--it only listed the Java 8 plugin. It didn't list Apple's Java 6.
    – watkipet
    Jan 5 '15 at 22:25
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In desperation, I installed the JDK. This fixed the problem. java -version gives the correct version. Eclipse CDT now runs and uses Java 8. In addition, I don't need to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable.

I don't need the JDK, just the JRE, since I'm running Eclipse CDT (I'm developing C code, not Java). However, installing the JDK, in addition to installing the JRE browser plugin, also installs the JRE here: /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_25.jdk

If someone can tell me how to get desktop Java apps (Eclipse, Lotus Notes, etc.) to use Java 8 JRE without installing the JDK--that would be the better answer.

FYI, this is what I discovered about how java actually gets launched:

/usr/bin/java is a symbolic link to /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/Current/Commands/java.

/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/Current is a symbolic link to /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/A

Note that /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_25.jdk/Contents/Home/jre/bin/java and /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/A/Commands/java are two different executables (their sizes differ). However, both will report that they're java version 8. I found that they use the /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/JavaLaunching.framework/Versions/A/JavaLaunching framework to exec the latest installed version of java.

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