Originally a private project with the focus on learning about the Java Native Interface (JNI), Java-Readline has turned into a collaborative work of many contributers. It is now hosted on Sourceforge. For details about the project, please visit the main project page.


Java-Readline is a port of GNU Readline for Java. Or, to be more precise, it is a JNI-wrapper to Readline. It is distributed under the LGPL.

Although Java-Readline is distributed under the LGPL, the underlying Readline library is GPL code. The consequence is, that any program linking with Java-Readline+Readline, will fall under the GPL.

There is a Readline replacement called Editline with a more liberal license. Starting with version 0.6, you have the choice of linking against Editline. This version also features a fallback solution ( for platforms without Readline or Editline support, making your programs portable again.

The code should compile for every platform supporting the readline, history and termcap libraries. Platforms known to work:

Please let me know of any additional platforms you managed to make Java-Readline work on.

You can find a French translation of this page here (courtesy of Vicky Rotarova).


Various packages are available for download. See the download area of the Java-Readline project. The current version is 0.8.0.

Mailing Lists

You can subscribe to a number of Java-Readline related mailing lists:

  1. Java-readline-devel (development issues)
  2. Java-readline-users (Java-Readline usage)
  3. Java-readline-announce (announcement of new versions)
To subscribe, go to the mailing list page of the Java-Readline project.

Projects using Java-Readline

A number of projects use Java-Readline (or can be modified easily to use it):

If your project is missing, just drop me a note.

You can find other Java and Linux related software on my Homepage.
Bernhard Bablok (mail @
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