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).

You can find the Dutch translation of this page here (courtesy of


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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