These instructions were executed on Ubuntu 10.10 running atop a 32-bit machine.
1. Download the latest JDK here.
2. Move the binary file to your directory of choice. The consensus from various sources seems to be /usr/local though you can put it anywhere and the PATH variable will be modified accordingly.
3. Change the permission to allow execution.
chmod a+x jdk-6u24-linux-i586.bin
Note: The name of the binary may be different for you. You must use sudo to move the binary into /usr/local and for the following step.
4. Add the path of the java executable (in this case /usr/local/jdk1.6.0_24/bin) to your PATH variable by modifying /etc/environment. Remember to separate entries within the variable with a colon and to log off to allow the change to take effect.
5. To test if everything has worked out, simply go to another directory and type “java -version”. You should see the following:
java version “1.6.0_24”
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_24-b07)
Java HotSpot(TM) Server VM (build 19.1-b02, mixed mode)