Installing Grails & Intellij Idea under Ubuntu 13.04

Posted by {"display_name"=>"greg", "login"=>"greg", "email"=>"", "url"=>""} on July 11, 2013 · 5 mins read

It's been a couple of years since I did a fresh install of Ubuntu and my Grails development environment. This post provides a walk-though of the steps to install Grails and Intellij Idea on ubuntu 13.04. I'm using Xubuntu, Grails 2.2.3, Intellij Idea 10 (with Groovy & Grails support).

Ubuntu 13.04 & Xubuntu

As I've written before, I'm not a big fan of the new Ubuntu Unity interface nor Gnome 3 so after reading Chris Hoffman's post on Unity Alternatives, I've chosen to install Xubuntu based on the Ubuntu 13.04 release.

Ubuntu App Installs

Grails 2.2.3 requires either OpenJDK6 or the Java 6 SDK. I've chosen to use OpenJDK.

Running the Ubuntu Software Center, I installed the following packages:

OpenJDK Java 6 Runtime
MySQL Server
GNU Emacs

While I've been a longtime Emacs user, I've also started using Sublime Text so I install it from the website.

I use Ninite when setting up new Windows systems.  It's not as necessary for Linux but I sometimes use it to install Dropbox and other utilities.


Git is not required for this configuration but I've become a fan of git for version control and you can find a good description of using git with Grails here.

$ git config --global "YOUR NAME"
$ git config --global "YOUR EMAIL"
$ git config --list

Grails - Package Manager Install

As of this writing, I have not been able to complete the package manager based install because of failures in the gradlew build steps. Instead, I've been using the pre-built package install described in the next section.

Install grails using the ubuntu package manager:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:groovy-dev/grails
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grails-ppa

As of this writing, there is no Grails package in the repository for Ubuntu 13.04 so the install fails. To work around this, I changed the strings raring in the following two files to precise:


I then re-ran the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grails-ppa

Log out and then back on again.  Test your install by entering the grails command and you should see results similar to this.

$ grails -version
Grails version: 2.1.1

To complete the test of your install try this:

$ cd test
$ grails run-app
Server running. Browse to http://localhost:8080/test

Intellij Idea

Go to the Intellij Idea download page and download Idea.

$ cd $HOME
$ tar xvfz ~/Downloads/ideaIU*gz
$ cd idea-IU*/bin
$ sudo ./

I also set the preferred web browser to Chrome at File > Settings > Web Browsers


Go to the SmartGIT download page and download the application.

$ cd $HOME
$ tar xvfz ~/Downloads/smartgit*gz

To run SmartGIT, execute the command:

$ ~/smartgit/bin/

CloudFoundry & AppFog

I've been using CloudFoundry as a Grails/Java PaaS provider for the past two years during their free beta period and have been very happy with the service. It's no longer free from VMware but AppFog has a free tier.

The AppFog af utility is needed to push Grails updates to AppFog and perform other administrative functions on your AppFog instance - stop, start and check on the status of your application and its' log files.

Here are the commands required to install their af utility:

$ gem install af
$ af target
$ af login <login-id>


I use springloops as a hosted source version control and offsite repository and wrote a post on configuring Git for use with springloops.

Misc Ubuntu Utilities

The Synaptic Package Manager:

$ sudo apt-get install synaptic

Disable overlay scroll bars:

$ sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0


Thanks to the Installation post and to ganu for his ubuntu grails install post.

Also to WEB UPD8 for their Things to Tweak post for Ubuntu 11.10

As a newbie to the ubuntu/Debian package manager, thanks to Matthew Danish for his APT and DPKG Quick Reference.

To list all installed packages: dpkg --get-selections
To list the files that are in a specific package: dpkg -L To list info about a specific package: dpkg -s

Using Git with Grails -


Updates from the original posting -

Oct 28, 2011: Added mysql and phpmyadmin install step.

Oct 30, 2011: Added Grails MySQL & Hibernate section.