Most unix commands whose operation changes based on values of environment variables have a section "ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES" in their man page. No such luck for the java binary (Sun/Oracle Java 6), though I'm fairly certain that things like CLASSPATH and perhaps JVM_OPTS have an effect.
Can anyone point me to a list of environment variables that affect the 'java' binary?
I don't think there are that many, but it will depend on what implementation (oracle vs ibm).
The oracle JDK has, at the very least, CLASSPATH, JAVA_HOME and JRE_HOME. Although in the man page for "java", the only environment variable it mentions is CLASSPATH.
Other tools like ant or tomcat may look for JVM_OPTS, and JBoss uses JAVA_OPTS.