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Introducing JITB — a Flash Player Built On the JVM 126

Posted by Soulskill
from the stay-as-long-as-you-like dept.
MBCook writes "Joa Ebert has started working on a new program called JITB. Announced in a talk at FITC San Fran, it's a Flash player written to use the Java JVM to run ActionScript, and in a simple graphics test case (making 1 million calls to flash.geom.Point) was 30x faster than Adobe's Flash player. There is an impressive demo video on YouTube showing the point test."
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Introducing JITB — a Flash Player Built On the JVM

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  • ... viewing that video requires Flash. If the purpose is to avoid Adobe Flash (as I do) the least they could have done is post it as WebM.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by The Salamander (56587)

      Also available via html5/h.264:

      Enable html5 playback @ http://youtube.com/html5 [youtube.com]

    • YouTube supports WebM, stop whining.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:55AM (#33314840) Homepage

    A tool that Oracle and Adobe can take for a legal Menage a trois

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MouseR (3264)

      Er. Why would Oracle team up with Adobe`s Flash, given their JavaFX?

      Disclaimer: I work for Oracle.

      • How about money?

        Thinking that JavaFX takes the role of Flash is delusional. But for Adobe it might be a good financial interest to keep Flash floating for a while longer (not that there would be a big threat to it so far, but they are still careful).

        Disclaimer 1: nothing against Adobe personally, I just hate Flash. I also see that Adobe is going in standards direction (somewhat) with CS5, so the issue is really only getting more time (and maybe a bit of DRM, some folks still don't got the memo that it's dea

      • Well JavaFX was stillborn for starters.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Why would Oracle team up with Adobe`s Flash, given their JavaFX?

        Because Flash isn't intended solely for rich Internet applications. How would one make, say, Homestar Runner using no Adobe products? Is Oracle getting ready to come out with a vector animation authoring tool?

  • by nacturation (646836) * <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:56AM (#33314848) Journal

    Does anybody know of screen capture software that reproduces the "I'm recording video of my monitor using my shitty cell phone" effect?

  • 30X faster? (Score:5, Informative)

    by strokerace (912726) on Friday August 20, 2010 @10:57AM (#33314868)
    Let's put this into perspective. Even the author of the software is calling for a reality check that's missing from the summary.

    From his site:

    Update: Please do not think that this implementation is 30x faster than the Flash Player developed by Adobe. One(!) microbenchmark is never a number you should count on. I would like to make clear that I never said this.

    • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:42PM (#33316312) Homepage Journal

      The problem here is not that the claim of a 30x performance increase was fallaciously generalized based on one particular piece of code as compared with Adobe's player, but that anyone familiar with Flash would find this claim to seem quite plausible.

      If someone claimed that they made a compiler that, say, generated code that was 30x faster than what Microsoft's compiler or gcc could do, no one would believe it for a minute.

      • by Doomdark (136619)
        But still many developers find these second-hand numbers appealing, despite being obviously bogus with even simplest of back-of-envelope calculations. It is very frustrating to see claims like "protobuf is 30 to 100 times faster than xml!" get repeated; same thing in this case. People tend to believe things they want to believe. "hey, flash is crap, of course it's easy to write something that's 10x faster", "Java is slow, my new programming language is 20x faster" etc. etc.. In many cases it is hard enough
        • Well, you'll never get rid of wishful thinking. Even a 10% speedup of some code takes weeks of programmer time, let alone 200% or 3000%. Yet hearing that a great speedup has taken place is always nice, even if only for a subset of an application.

          It comes to mind that data centers are often a target for derision among green activists, who usually don't understand as much of the ecological issues as they should before they speak, let alone IT issues. We should really start pointing out to them that Google and

    • by mbius (890083)
      It might be lost on a general audience that the author, where Flash performance is concerned, is God Himself.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So an implementation of a language that only implements 1% of the functionality is less bloated and faster than the full implementation when running one very specific test? No fucking shit. I'm one of the first to bash Flash at any opportunity, but I'll wait and see how well this performs once it actually has some functionality before I start laughing at Adobe.

  • BSD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:04AM (#33314948)

    If this really works, then we will finally get Flash to work on BSD and 64 bit version of Linux.

    • assuming you have a jvm for your platform.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Which BSD and 64-bit Linux do.

    • by iceaxe (18903)

      Dadgum! What the heck have I been watching on my 64 bit Linux box all these months? Is somebody tricking me with smoke and mirrors again?

  • Adobe has one (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:04AM (#33314954)

    Adobe (back then Macromedia) used to ship Flash in two version: native binary and Java version in the days when Java applets were popular. They stopped developing it around the time Flash 4 was out, because the tables have turned: Java applets were going down, while Flash was going up.

    The article never mentions any reason as to why this player was developed, and I'm struggling to come up with a reason myself, as it's easier to port the native runtime to any platform, than maintain an independent copy in a constant "catch up" mode.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kick6 (1081615)

      I'm struggling to come up with a reason myself, as it's easier to port the native runtime to any platform, than maintain an independent copy in a constant "catch up" mode.

      Semi-closed platforms like the iphone/ipod where the proprieters have turned their back on flash?

      • Re:Adobe has one (Score:4, Insightful)

        by norminator (784674) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:21AM (#33315166)
        Apple isn't any more interested in allowing Java than Flash on the iPhone, so this won't help there.
        • ...but you can take this code and put it on your jailbroken iPhone/iPad yourself, which you can't do with their binary nearly as easily.
        • by Gazzonyx (982402)
          If you jailbreak, you can get a lightweight JVM/JIT package from Cydia. Haven't tried it, but it installs, FWIW. I don't know how complete the libs are, but there isn't any reason you can't cross compile the Sun JVM to ARM (although memory might be a problem on 4th Gen hardware).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stan Vassilev (939229)

        Semi-closed platforms like the iphone/ipod where the proprieters have turned their back on flash?

        The introduction of yet another semi-functional Flash alternative is doing nothing to change this position, as it's a practical position, not one of open source ideology. Having it in Java makes this even less interesting to Apple.

        Steve Jobs, like any other mobile maker, can have full access to the actual Flash player source code, if he only wanted it. Maintaining an independent port is not cheaper than simply fixing the one Adobe provides.

      • Re:Adobe has one (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Adambomb (118938) * on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:23AM (#33315202) Journal

        Semi-closed platforms

        Semi?

        • by mrogers (85392)

          Semi?

          Apple users consider the platform semi-open because you can look through the glass at the front and see your apps.

        • by tepples (727027)

          Semi-closed platforms

          Semi?

          Yes, semi. Wii is an example of a fully closed platform: access to the devkit is by invitation only, and the rules [warioworld.com] state that you need a dedicated office and "experience" (that is, a prior commercial video game on another platform) even to be considered. But with Xbox 360 or iPod touch, anyone with $1000 for the hardware and the first year of a developer certificate can start coding.

        • by IICV (652597)

          It's like being a little bit pregnant.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      It's just another case of existing technologies being re-implemented for Java. Nothing to see here, move along.

    • JVM optimisations (Score:4, Informative)

      by DrYak (748999) on Friday August 20, 2010 @12:42PM (#33316310) Homepage

      The article never mentions any reason as to why this player was developed, and I'm struggling to come up with a reason myself

      I would think that the JVM itself is the main reason.
      Flash uses Actionscript, a variant of ECMAScript, just like Javascript.
      To run it fast enough, an implementation needs a fast and nice actionscript engine.
      One possibility would be to get a Javascript engine like Google's V8, Mozilla's Trace- / Jaegger-Monkey, Adobe's own opensourced Tamarin, etc.
      The other possibility is to use a well known and well optimised VM like Java and compile the Javascript into Java bytecode. This makes the process more complex, but leverages the years of JVM development.

      Also the second advantage is that lots of hardware contain already a functionning JVM : Lots of phone have Java EE, Android has the Java-like Dalvik (which can run java byte code after a transcoding), etc.

      as it's easier to port the native runtime to any platform

      Saddly, the main reference implementation of Flash is closed source (except for the Tamarin engine).
      So for a port you have 3 possibilities :
      - wait for Adobe to port the latest official player. Saddly they aren't doing it for lots of different architecture
      - port yourself one of the open source implementation (Gnash, LightSpark, Swfdec)
      - use a multi-platform player (Java)

      • by TheBig1 (966884)

        Lots of phone have Java EE

        Probably just a typo, but to my knowledge no phones support Java EE; you probably meant Java ME. I can't comment on the rest of your post, as I have no idea if it is possible or even feasible to compile Javascript into Java bytecode...

    • by JAlexoi (1085785)

      as it's easier to port the native runtime to any platform

      Well, unless you have some chunks of code that are platform dependent. And I bet Flash has those pieces of code. Otherwise wou would have had Flash 64 bit without any issues, since you know, it would only require a recompile....

  • This sounds like a neat project... even without the speed improvements it would be nice to have a flash player that was portable and Free.

    That said, I can't wait to see the security holes of a Flash client combined with the security holes of a Java JVM! This is going to be AWESOME.

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      Somehow, I don't think there will be a lot of security holes in a Flash player written in Java, compared to a Flash player written in C or C++.

  • by spinkham (56603) on Friday August 20, 2010 @11:26AM (#33315226)

    This means very little. Anyone can make a subset of a language faster then a full implementation.

    The Ruby world has been through this recently: Someone comes out with a fantastic runtime that supports 1/8 of the ruby language, and it's 10x faster then everything else!

    There's lots of hype, but as development continues the other runtimes get 2x faster, and the new magic runtime gets 5x slower by actually supporting the whole language, and the new magic runtime is now the same speed as the rest of the field, with less compatibility and more memory usage.

    So color me skeptical, until this runtime supports the whole language, including transparent overlays and all the stuff that the Adobe guys claim makes Flash slow.

    Even the author of this article will tell you this. He recently added:

    Update: Please do not think that this implementation is 30x faster than the Flash Player developed by Adobe. One(!) microbenchmark is never a number you should count on. I would like to make clear that I never said this.

    That being said, If we're stuck with Flash for at least the near term, I'd like to see projects like this, Gordon [github.com], and Smokescreen [smokescreen.us] take off and perhaps improve our choices in runtimes. I just don't expect magic.

  • ... java is slow and a memory hog. (for the sarcasm impaired, yes, I'm joking).

  • android support or it's pointless.

    • by ma3382 (1095011)
      What, you don't like the Java implementation of Youtube app as it is so you need to load a Java applet from the web?
    • by JackAxe (689361)
      If you have Froyo 2.2 like ME and a Nexus One like ME, Flash Player 10.1 'final' is already available -- which makes ME happy. :)
  • Cue Oracle patent lawsuit in 3....2.....1....

    • Acconding to the Java licence, they can't sue you for creating a program (Flash's substitute) that uses a full blown JVM. Otherwise, we all would the fucked.

      Even so, regarding JVM implementations, if you make a JVM that implements Java to the fullest, you are safe too. Only partial implementations (like java mobile) are target for lawsuits

      • if you make a JVM that implements Java to the fullest, you are safe too. Only partial implementations (like java mobile) are target for lawsuits

        Then how can a free software project develop a JVM if nobody on the team is legally allowed to distribute parts of it until the whole thing is feature-complete? It would have to be done inside a corporation, such that distribution of work-in-progress source code from one member of the team to another is not legally "distribution".

        • Don't ask me. I am just giving you the facts [perens.com]. Quoting (emphasis mine):

          Sun Microsystems, Inc. (SUN) hereby grants to you a fully paid, nonexclusive, nontransferable, perpetual, worldwide limited license (without the right to sublicense) under SUN's intellectual property rights that are essential to practice this specification. This license allows and is limited to the creation and distribution of clean room implementations of this specification that:

          (i) include a complete implementation of the current version of this specification without subsetting or supersetting;

      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        do you work for Oracle? Otherwise stating what is and isn't safe when you don't have the authority over if they sue or not isn't very convincing.

  • Is to use GCJ [gnu.org] and go at the speed of machine code.
    Or maybe to LLVM [llvm.org]!
  • I wonder if Joa Ebert realizes I'll never be able to not call it Jack in the Box if it takes off.
  • Now we need a JVM implemented on Flash and bingo. Infinite loop, here we go
  • Man, those types of videos give me a headache. Use a tripod, pop the camera again something. JUST STOP THE SHAKING! Please?

  • Just sayin'. Am I the only one who abbreviates it that way?
    • by neminem (561346)
      Nope. At the very least, Kingdom of Loathing players all refer to the Jack in the Box familiar as the JitB; clearly we should refer to this thing as Java in the Box?
  • Seems to me that if this plays out and is better at higher levels of compatability, that this might encourage Adobe to make a better flash player.

  • So now the player can be nice and slow and want to update my system just as much or more!
  • next step is to rewrite bochs in java in which we can run vmware running ubuntu with wine loading qemu running reactos to load a java envirment for flash... (i'd include java script but it's too fast these days...)
  • Watching that video made me want cheeseburgers.

    What does JITB stand for in this case?

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

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