Unable to start Eclipse 3.x on Linux?

Whether you uninstalled Eclipse and reinstalled it or you install it the first time, you may run into an issue where you try to start Eclipse and it tells you that it can’t…. go look in the .eclipse/…./.log file to see why it couldn’t start. Unless you’re familiar with Java exception stacktraces, it is damn near impossible to figure out why.

One such cause is the dreaded ‘SWTError’ error message, buried in the log file. How to see if you’re running into this problem? Open the log file in your favorite text editor and search for ‘SWTError’. If you see something like:

Root exception: java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: org/eclipse/swt/SWTError

It is quite likely that your libswt* files aren’t being picked up by Eclipse. Use rpm, apt-get, emerge or whatever you normally use to install software to reinstall libswt3.2-gtk-java and libswt3.2-gtk-jini. That should allow you to start Eclipse or at least get past the SWT error.

Example log file showing the errors

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