"is there a mechanism to distribute an app with its own jre?" Code Answer

    to run your application, a user needs the j2se runtime environment,
    which is freely available from sun. or, you can redistribute the 
    j2se runtime environment for free with your application, according 
    to the terms of the runtime environment's license.

from http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/jre/readme

i haven't read the fine print, it seems that sun intends for people to redistribute the jre. also, there are many products (e.g. install4j) that make it easy for you to redistribute the jre, so it seems to be legal.

as to the rest of it, you could then also bundle tomcat, with the built in service so your app is automatically started, and create a shortcut on the desktop to your local webapp, so users are freed from typing ht tp://localhost:8080/webapp. there are plenty of foss installers (e.g. izpack) that will allow your users to install the package, and manage creation of desktop shortcuts. you mentioned preferring not using an installer, but even unzipping is kind of installing - your users have to choose a directory that they have write access to, and this is no different with a fully fledged installer.

but, given the capabilities of your users, is a locally installed solution the most suited to them? an online solution might offer simpler deployment (e.g. java web start, or even as an applet.)

By Tarsis Azevedo on February 16 2022

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