The descriptor.proto is the proto that describes proto files.  This
supports that Java and C++ reflection language feature and is required
to be part of the java library.

descriptor.proto is located at protobuf-2.4.1/src/google/protobuf/
descriptor.proto (with the C++ code)

Please see the file included in the 2.4.1 distribution at
protobuf-2.4.1/java/README.txt for instructions on how to properly
build / install the java library without maven.

I've included the relevant section below:

Installation - Without Maven

If you would rather not install Maven to build the library, you may
follow these instructions instead.  Note that these instructions skip
running unit tests.

1) Build the C++ code, or obtain a binary distribution of protoc.  If
   you install a binary distribution, make sure that it is the same
   version as this package.  If in doubt, run:

     $ protoc --version

   If you built the C++ code without installing, the compiler binary
   should be located in ../src.

2) Invoke protoc to build

     $ protoc --java_out=src/main/java -I../src \

3) Compile the code in src/main/java using whatever means you prefer.

4) Install the classes wherever you prefer.

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