Perplexing and interesting at the same time.
Originally Posted by tberman333
To start with, since you installed by downloading from apache instead of the ubuntu repository then I'm inclined to think that any differences between 7.10 and 8.04 are symptoms, rather than a primary issue.
I installed tomcat on my 8.04 machine this afternoon and played with the scripts (but didn't actually run tomcat yet.) startup.sh and shutdown.sh both call catalina.sh. Also, if you add a script called setenv.sh in the same directory then you can define whatever variables you want to - the main one to consider is probably JAVA_HOME. That lets you set it so the tomcat scripts can read the value, but the rest of the system doesn't have to be bloated with the JAVA_HOME setting for tomcat.
I'm confused why tomcat only starts for you when you log off and back on. You're running startup.sh in both cases, right?
At any rate, I think adding the following line to a new file named setenv.sh in your /usr/local/tomcat/bin/ directory will go a long way for you.