I'm using ActiveMQ 5.9.0 Java Runtime: Oracle Corporation 1.7.0_45 OS X 10.9.1 This system I had trouble running the activemq-admin script. When running it I see the following output; Jamies-MBP:bin jamie$ activemq-admin Error: JAVA_HOME is not defined correctly. We cannot execute auto I get this despite me having JAVA_HOME set in my environment. This can be fixed by changing and entry in ~/.activemqrc. Do a search for JAVACMD and you should find the following few lines; # Location of the java installation # Specify the location of your java installation using JAVA_HOME, or specify the # path to the "java" binary using JAVACMD # (set JAVACMD to "auto" for automatic detection) #JAVA_HOME="" JAVACMD="auto" The remedy here is to comment out the JAVACMD line which seems to break the activemq-admin script. No need to set the JAVA_HOME here unless you want to over-ride the environment default.