Quick Start

These instructions should help you get Apache Karaf up and running in 5 to 15 minutes.


Karaf requires a Java SE 8 or Java SE 9 environment to run. Refer to http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/ for details on how to download and install Java SE 1.8 or greater.

  • Open a Web browser and access the following URL: http://karaf.apache.org/index/community/download.html

  • Download the binary distribution that matches your system (zip for windows, tar.gz for unixes)

  • Extract the archive to a new folder on your hard drive; for example in c:\karaf - from now on this directory will be referenced as <KARAF_HOME>.

Start the server

Open a command line console and change the directory to <KARAF_HOME>.

To start the server, run the following command in Windows:


respectively on Unix:


You should see the following information on the command line console:

        __ __                  ____
       / //_/____ __________ _/ __/
      / ,<  / __ `/ ___/ __ `/ /_
     / /| |/ /_/ / /  / /_/ / __/
    /_/ |_|\__,_/_/   \__,_/_/

  Apache Karaf (4.2.0)

Hit '<tab>' for a list of available commands
and '[cmd] --help' for help on a specific command.
Hit '<ctrl-d>' or type 'system:shutdown' or 'logout' to shutdown Karaf.


Shell console basics

You can now run your first command. Simply type the <tab> key in the console.

karaf: do you wish to see to see all 356 possibilities (219 lines)?
karaf@root()> Display all 294 possibilities? (y or n)
shell:logout                        shell:more                          shell:new                           shell:printf                        shell:sleep                         shell:sort                          shell:source
shell:stack-traces-print            shell:tac                           shell:tail                          shell:threads                       shell:watch                         shell:wc                            shell:while
shutdown                            sleep                               sort                                source                              ssh                                 ssh                                 ssh-host-change
ssh-port-change                     ssh:ssh                             stack-traces-print                  start                               start-level                         status                              stop
su                                  sudo                                system                              system:framework                    system:name                         system:property                     system:shutdown
system:start-level                  system:version                      tac                                 tail                                threads                             tree-show                           uninstall
update                              user-add                            user-delete                         user-list                           version                             version-list                        wait
watch                               wc                                  while

You can then grab more specific help for a given command using the --help option for this command:

karaf@root()> bundle:list --help

        Lists all installed bundles.

        bundle:list [options] [ids]

                The list of bundle (identified by IDs or name or name/version) separated by whitespaces

        -name, -n
                Show bundle name
                Shows the update locations
                Shows the bundle revisions

                Show the locations
                Shows the symbolic name
        --context, -c
                Use the given bundle context
                (defaults to 0)
                Display this help message
                Specifies the bundle threshold; bundles with a start-level less than this value will not get printed out.
                Disable table rendered output

Note that the console supports tab completion so if you start typing a command it will show all possible completions and also auto complete if there is only one completion.

Deploy a sample application

While you will learn in the Karaf user’s guide how to fully use and leverage Apache Karaf, let’s install a sample Apache Camel application for now:

Copy and paste the following commands in the console:

feature:repo-add camel 2.20.0
feature:install deployer camel-blueprint aries-blueprint
cat > deploy/example.xml <<END
<blueprint xmlns="http://www.osgi.org/xmlns/blueprint/v1.0.0">

    <camelContext xmlns="http://camel.apache.org/schema/blueprint">
            <from uri="timer://test?fixedRate=true&amp;period=2000" />
                <simple>Message at ${date:now:yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss}</simple>
            <to uri="log:test" />


The example installed is using Camel to start a timer every 2 seconds and output a message in the log. The previous commands download the Camel features descriptor and install the example feature.

You can display the log in the shell:

karaf@root()> log:display
2017-10-13 10:04:11,225 | INFO  | 7 - timer://test | test                             | 28 - org.apache.camel.camel-core - 2.20.0 | Exchange[ExchangePattern: InOnly, BodyType: String, Body: Message at 2017-10-13 10:04:11]
2017-10-13 10:04:13,225 | INFO  | 7 - timer://test | test                             | 28 - org.apache.camel.camel-core - 2.20.0 | Exchange[ExchangePattern: InOnly, BodyType: String, Body: Message at 2017-10-13 10:04:13]

Stopping and uninstalling the sample application

To stop and uninstall the demo, run the following command:

karaf@root()> bundle:stop example.xml
karaf@root()> bundle:uninstall example.xml

Stopping Karaf

To stop Karaf from the console, enter ^D in the console:


Alternatively, you can also run the following command:

karaf@root()> feature:install system
karaf@root()> system:shutdown
Confirm: halt instance root (yes/no): yes

halt is also an alias for system:shutdown:

karaf@root()> halt

Cleaning the Karaf state

Normally Karaf remembers the features and bundles you installed and started. To reset Karaf into a clean state, just delete the data directory when Karaf is not running.


This document shows how simple it is to get Apache Karaf up and running and install a simple Apache Camel application.