How do I use the JAVA_OPTS environment variable?

How do I use the JAVA_OPTS variable to configure a web server (a linux server)?

How can I set -Djava.awt.headless=true using JAVA_OPTS?


JAVA_OPTS is the standard environment variable that some servers and other java apps append to the call that executes the java command.

For example in tomcat if you define JAVA_OPTS='-Xmx1024m', the startup script will execute java org.apache.tomcat.Servert -Xmx1024m

If you are running in Linux/OSX, you can set the JAVA_OPTS, right before you call the startup script by doing


This will only last as long as the console is open. To make it more permanent you can add it to your ~/.profile or ~/.bashrc file.

JAVA_OPTS is environment variable used by tomcat in its startup/shutdown script to configure params.

You can set it in linux by

export JAVA_OPTS="-Djava.awt.headless=true" 

Just figured it out in Oracle Java the environmental variable is called: JAVA_TOOL_OPTIONS rather than JAVA_OPTS

JAVA_OPTS is not restricted to Tomcat’s Java process, but passed to all JVM processes running on the same machine.

Use CATALINA_OPTS if you specifically want to pass JVM arguments to Tomcat's servlet engine.

Actually, you can, even though accepted answer saying that you can't.

There is a _JAVA_OPTIONS environment variable, more about it here

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