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Java not running in instance


I have a problem with java and open stack and need some input. Perhaps someone has a helpful thought on this?

I started an instance with the current cloud image of Ubuntu 14.04 (20140731). Then, installed openjdk-7-jdk. When I try to run java, I get strange errors. Curiously, the errors only occurs when working on a OpenStack instance. The same procedure works fine with for example an Ubuntu in a VirtualBox VM.

Here's what I get when I only run the java-command without any arguments (which should give me the help-text):

root@ubuntu-14:~# apt-get update
root@ubuntu-14:~# apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk
root@ubuntu-14:~# java -version
java version "1.7.0_55"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea 2.4.7) (7u55-2.4.7-1ubuntu1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 24.51-b03, mixed mode)

root@ubuntu-14:~# java
Exception in thread "main" java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Unmatched braces in the pattern.
    at java.text.MessageFormat.applyPattern(
    at java.text.MessageFormat.<init>(
    at java.text.MessageFormat.format(
    at sun.launcher.LauncherHelper.getLocalizedMessage(
    at sun.launcher.LauncherHelper.printHelpMessage(

I don't really know where to look for - is there any substantial difference between the environment in a VirtualBox VM and an OpenStack instance that could cause this problem? Any help would be much appreciated!

I'm running OpenStack Havanna on virtual Ubuntu 12.04 on a VSphere Cluster (yes, I'm aware that this is not the most performant setup - but so far it has been sufficient for our small test project).