Java inventory also on UNIX-like platforms

IT Asset Management version 2019 R1.2
On all supported UNIX-like platforms, FlexNet Inventory Agent from version 2019 R1.2 (13.4.1) collects additional inventory evidence for Java (already supported on Microsoft Windows). Evidence is collected no matter what method was used to deploy FlexNet Inventory Agent:
  • Automatic adoption of a new device, or policy-driven self-update of an existing installation (self-update is not supported on Debian Linux or Ubuntu Linux)
  • Running a platform-native installer package (such as RPM for Linux)
  • Copying an archive into place on the device (although tracking this case requires configuration as described below).
Once FlexNet Inventory Agent is deployed on a UNIX-like platform, inventory data is returned as installer evidence (of type Any).
The installer evidence returns the product version and the publisher name, such as Oracle, IBM, or Azul; but the edition of Java SE, such as Advanced, Advanced Desktop, or Suite, is not currently imported.
Note: For Oracle Java, only versions 8.211, 8.212, 11.0 and later are supported as inventory imports for license compliance, as these are commercially licensed versions that are currently supported by Oracle. (Support for minor versions of Oracle Java 8 rely on an update to the ARL scheduled for July 12.)

As usual, the imported evidence is automatically available in the All Evidence page (on the Installer Evidence tab); and version 2414 or later of the Application Recognition Library (ARL) supports automatic recognition of supported Java versions from this evidence.

No change is required in commands for inventory gathering by the FlexNet Inventory Agent, nor by its core inventory component the tracker (ndtrack) where used separately. However, if you wish to gather Java inventory from devices where the archive was copied into place and the installer was not run, the includedirectory preference must be correctly set to allow scanning of the folder where Java is installed. (As always, preferences on UNIX-like platforms are saved in the file /var/opt/managesoft/etc/config.ini, and may be distributed as part of the deployment process in a mgsft_rollout_response file. For more details, see Gathering FlexNet Inventory.)

Tip: If you are using the FlexNet Inventory Scanner, be sure to include the appropriate setting in the command line, overriding its default value of not doing any file scanning.
The directories to scan for evidence are set in the Included file evidence section of the Discovery & Inventory > Settings page, and distributed as policy to all local installations of FlexNet Inventory Agent (any individual overrides of this global setting must be through a custom command line on the target inventory device). For details, see the Gathering FlexNet Inventory PDF. Notice that, although the web interface says that this setting is for included file evidence, it actually sets the folders to scan. Once found, the Oracle executable is checked, and the associated release file examined; and the resulting information is returned as installer evidence.

This capability brings Java inventory gathering on UNIX-like platforms in line with existing functionality on Windows platforms. As well, ARL recognition of file evidence for Java on Windows has been improved, so that both installer evidence and file evidence can be recognized on Windows.

Troubleshooting tip: Missing Oracle publisher gives unrecognized evidence

To collect installer evidence for Oracle Java, FlexNet Inventory Agent (13.4.1 or later) collects the Oracle publisher information by invoking the Java executable and interrogating the release file (this release file is part of the Oracle Java distribution package, and is installed as a peer of the bin folder in the Java installation). If this release file has been removed, FlexNet Inventory Agent cannot identify the publisher, and as a result, the uploaded and imported inventory produces Unrecognized Evidence records.

You can correct this by restoring the release file from the Oracle Java installation media to the correct location on the inventory device, and waiting for the next overnight cycle of inventory collection/upload/import, and subsequent license reconciliation.

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