JAVA_HOME does not point to the JDK

Solution:

Make JAVA_HOME variable point to a jdk installation, not jre.

You are referencing the runtime environment, not the development kit - it can't find the compiler because its not there.

From the line you posted, which states you have open-jdk you can just remove the jre at end:

export JAVA_HOME='/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk/'

You installed java...

apt-get install default-jre

But not the JDK...

apt-get install default-jdk

This is by design. You cannot use ant's java.home (which is a java.lang.System property) interchangeably with how JAVA_HOME is set in the OS environment. You are probably trying to assert the location of the Java compiler with a fundamentally different value from a different property layer -- i.e. java.home (from Ant's Java internals) points to the Java Runtime Environment at <any_installed_java_pointed_to_by_ant>/jre while JDK_HOME (from the OS environment) is usually set to <DOWNLOADED_AND_INSTALLED_JAVA_DEVELOPMENT_KIT>.

See my question and answer here for more details: Where does Ant set its 'java.home' (and is it wrong) and is it supposed to append '/jre'?

The solution is to access the system environment property within Ant by using ${env.JAVA_HOME}. Specify which java to use explicitly in the Javac Task by setting the executable property to the javac path and the fork property to yes (see Ant's Javac Task Documentation). That way, it doesn't matter what Java environment Ant is running inside, the compiler is always clearly specified!