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Java Programming

Java Gets New Garbage Collector, But Only If You Buy Support 587

An anonymous reader writes "The monetization of Java has begun. Sun released the Java 1.6.0_14 JDK and JRE today which include a cool new garbage collector called G1. There is just one catch. Even though it is included in the distribution, the release notes state 'Although G1 is available for use in this release, note that production use of G1 is only permitted where a Java support contract has been purchased.' So the Oracle touch is already taking effect. Will OpenJDK be doomed to a feature-castrated backwater while all the good stuff goes into the new Java SE for Business commercial version?"
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Java Gets New Garbage Collector, But Only If You Buy Support

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  • Seriously Java? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlechem ( 613317 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:02PM (#28142063) Homepage Journal
    You used to be cool.
    • Re:Seriously Java? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:11PM (#28142217) Homepage

      So long as they publish the spec, we can't accuse them of being proprietary. So long as the free version is superior to other similar free technologies, they will still be the market leader. Sounds like they know what they're doing.

      • Re:Seriously Java? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:17PM (#28143189) Journal

        So long as they publish the spec, we can't accuse them of being proprietary.

        Yeah, just like .NET, right?

    • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:11PM (#28142233)
      Garbage in, garbage out.
    • by patro ( 104336 )

      You used to be cool.

      Really? When?

      • by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:39PM (#28142665)

        Very briefly around 10 years ago, when it was a clear improvement over C++ and hadn't yet been infested by architecture astronauts.

      • Re:Seriously Java? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by theeddie55 ( 982783 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:41PM (#28142681)
        java was cool when it was a great idea, then it was implemented. it has never really been all that cool since then.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jd ( 1658 )

          That was back when it was called Oak, right?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Java "stopped being cool" when your average C/C++ alleged hotshot realised other developers who were not as good at fancy pointer tricks but better at CS could get 10 times the performance within the same deadline by focusing on algorithms instead of fixing memory leaks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ahabswhale ( 1189519 )

          Wrong. And unlike you, I can actually backup my statement.

          Write once, run anywhere = very cool. Always backwards compatible = very cool. Much cleaner than C and C++ code that it was competing with = very cool. It does all of this while offering performance superior to most languages.

          There are newer nifty-neato languages out there but Java is a workhorse language that is still extremely valuable to corporations around the world. Sun actually has a pretty remarkable achievement on their hands, and I can

    • Re:Seriously Java? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) * on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:41PM (#28142687)
      As per release notes, this is an experimental feature. It may be that Sun intends to provide it only to paid customers or it may be that they want to make sure you don't use it in "production" environment until it's ready and then whine that Java is buggy if it doesn't work 100%.

      I don't know which is true but the second possibility seems far more likely to me, making this story completely pointless and unfair - but hey this is slashdot.

      Btw, off topic but is it just me or the subjects in replies are showing up as white text on white bg in Firefox but look ok in IE. I even tried in on another pc and same thing.
    • It's in OpenJDK too (Score:5, Informative)

      by arthurp ( 1250620 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:19PM (#28143213)
      G1 is in OpenJDK and JDK7 as well as the new JDK6. So it's open source. So fear not. I think that as people have mentioned below they are simply trying to protect themselves from people turning on this feature in a production environment and then bitching to them about it.
  • by SurfMan ( 969573 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:02PM (#28142075)
    With the JavaOne starting this week, it might be a nice opening question on day one... "What the hell are you thinking, mister Schwartz??"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 )

      "What the hell are you thinking, mister Schwartz??"

      I'm thinking he turned to Ellison and said... "Let the Schwartz be with you!"

  • Garbage collector? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:03PM (#28142089) Journal

    As a non-programmer, can someone give a brief explanation of what a garbage collector is as it pertains to programming.

    • by gubers33 ( 1302099 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:06PM (#28142125)
      Garbage collection is the process freeing objects that are no longer referenced by the program.
    • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:08PM (#28142173) Journal

      Java hides the details of memory allocation from the programmer. Objects, strings, etc use memory. When they are first used, Java makes sure that the appropriate amounts of memory are allocated for the item in question. When these items are no longer in use, the garbage collector finds them and frees the memory so that it can be used for other parts of the application.

      VB is another place where a garbage collector would be found. Ditto .NET.

      • I know I am profoundly ignorant and as thus should be modded into oblivion, but I don't do any programming where the memory allocation is variable. Is there a good reason are people really relying on hidden mechanisms to manage it? I would think it would be a lot more robust to keep track of allocation and deallocation explicitly, add when you need, and delete when you don't need, and not count on some generic mechanism. I know it happens, I see the memory leaks, but it would seem eminently avoidable.

        • by publiclurker ( 952615 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:30PM (#28142535)
          While in theory, avoiding memory leaks is easy, in practice, it is rather difficult for anything but the most trivial programs. that's one of the reasons why garbage collection was created in the first place.
          • by Thomasje ( 709120 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:49PM (#28142801)
            The reason why Java has garbage collection has nothing to do with programmer convenience; it is needed in order to make Java's security model work. Without garbage collection, a thread could allocate a chunk of memory and then free it, while hanging on to the pointer -- and then periodically take a look at what shows up in the memory area where the previously freed block used to be. Any Java process running in the same VM would be at risk. This kind of deliberate use of "dangling pointers" is easy to prevent if using garbage collectors, very difficult to prevent otherwise.

            Protecting processes running in the same VM from each other may not seem terribly useful now, but Java was originally designed to be used in embedded controllers, where the JVM would *be* the operating system, and where processes had to be protected from each other without the help of a hardware memory management unit.

            FWIW, I also beg to differ about the difficulty of manual memory management. In C++ it is usually very easy, as long as you're consistent about doing deallocations in destructors. I once had to write a 40,000+ line C++ program, with lots of dynamic memory management going on; once development was complete, I ran a complete test suite under Purify, and found 5, yes, five, memory leaks. Considering that most leaks are the result of mis-handled object ownership, which is an issue that garbage collection does not eliminate in general, you should be careful about your design, *and* use memory analyzers like OptimizeIt, even when developing in a GC environment.

            • I ran a complete test suite under Purify, and found 5, yes, five, memory leaks

              Five memory leaks!

              One... two... three... four... five memory leaks!


              Sorry. I have a toddler at home. I couldn't help counting out loud in a silly voice when you mentioned the number 'five' twice.
              br.Now my coworkers are eyeing me even more strangely than usual.

            • by mario_grgic ( 515333 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:13PM (#28143157)

              Nice, now try couple of million lines of code, maintained by 50 or so developers of various levels of experience and see how many memory leaks there are then.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by FiskeBoller ( 536819 )
              If you're a sole programmer writing everything yourself, I'd be inclined to agree with you. Most work I see, however, involves significantly larger chunks than 40,000 LOC and coordination with other teams or contributors. C/C++ has no inherent unified memory management scheme, and so the patterns and responsibilities for memory management can vary widely between teams, libraries, or chunks of code. That is something that often gets overlooked when discussing Java memory management. Java GC has literally has
        • by geekboy642 ( 799087 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:36PM (#28142627) Journal

          It would not be more robust.
          The more things you have to pay attention to at the nuts-and-bolts level, the fewer things you are able to pay attention to at the business logic level. The key difference between managed languages like Java and non-managed languages like C, is that the uninteresting grunt work is done for you by the compiler. A vast majority of security flaws are related to programmers thinking exactly like you do. Even if the programmer is very highly skilled, memory management is tedious and difficult, and it is impossible to never make a mistake. Mistakes in memory management lead to segfaults or remote exploits.
          Non-managed languages should be used only when the performance benefits outweigh the dangers.

        • by hibiki_r ( 649814 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:41PM (#28142689)

          Even in modern C++, memory allocation and destruction is commonly done behind the scenes using reference counting pointers.

          Whenever you are dealing with anything that resembles a complex data structure, making sure that the programmer has to think very little about memory allocation is a huge boon. Programmer productivity across the alst 50 years hasn't changed much, if we look at statements written per month. The main difference is that 50 years ago, our statements did a lot less than they do now. A programmer that doesn't have to think of memory requirements can spend more time thinking about the actual business requirements, and improving the core algorithms.

          Leaving the memory management to a library is also a good way of minimizing the damage that a careless programmer can make. I remember the cost of a bad programmer in a team coding in C: It'd take longer to track his memory leaks, pointer overlaps buffer overruns than it would have taken the more reliable programmers to write the code from scratch. In languages like Java and C#, one has to really be working hard to be a true liability. There's just a lower barrier of entry. In a world that's not filled with uberprogrammers, but barely competent ones, this is a huge boon.

          And that's why few shops making business software would even dare to start a new project in a language without garbage collection: Unless you have quite a special team, a great QA process and are memory constrained, you'll be more productive in a language that is further away from the metal.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:52PM (#28142859)

          would think it would be a lot more robust to keep track of allocation and deallocation explicitly, add when you need, and delete when you don't need, and not count on some generic mechanism.

          Ok... so I allocate object A. Then I allocate object B, C, and D that all reference A but aren't aware of eachother. Then I release D, and don't know whether to release A, so now A needs to have some sort of reference counting mechanism, and I have to remember to use it each time I create or copy or pass a reference to A.

          Or... I can use a language that implements the reference counting stuff for me and implicitly calls it when I allocate new objects, create, copy, or pass references, and expire them as they go out of scope, without me having to write explicit destructors.

          Basically, if you do any sort of remotely complicated object allocation where you are going to need to implement reference counting to keep track of them, you might as well use a garbage collector. That's what it does, it comes thoroughly debugged, and you don't have to waste time implementing and debugging your own.

          So, a garbage collector language is MORE robust (assuming robust means 'more reliable').

          That's not to say unmanaged code doesn't have its place, but in my experience managed code tends to get developed faster and cheaper than equivalent unmanaged code, so it only makes sense to use unmanaged code where you really need the performance or nuts&bolts control. Your typical productivity or business logic application don't. Drivers, real-time systems, etc do.

          As always, use the best tool for the job. C is not always the best tool.

        • Even when... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jd ( 1658 )

 have explicit allocation/deallocation, you get holes in memory. There's no way to avoid it, for the same reason that fragmentation occurs on disks. Unless the chunk you allocate is exactly the same size as the chunk last deallocated, there will be a region of memory that cannot be used.

          This means that your heap will end up looking like swiss-cheese, unless you have some means of shuffling things around. Unless the programmer can absolutely guarantee that mallocs and frees only occur in such a way tha

    • by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <> on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:14PM (#28142287) Homepage

      As a non-programmer, can someone give a brief explanation of what a garbage collector is as it pertains to programming.

      C++ has two important keywords: "new" and "delete." You use new when creating an object, and when you are done with it, you use delete to free up the memory it was using. (And, depending on the object, it may do some special stuff while being deleted, like close network sockets, or write a log entry about how sad being deleted is.)

      Java has a concept of "new," but it doesn't have a "delete." (Well, the concept exists behind the cutain, but programmers never delete things themselves when using Java.) Java assumes that you are more interested in creating stuff, and don't want to be bothered with the minutia of getting rid of it when you no longer care about it. So, the Java run time goes around deleting stuff that seems like it is no longer being used. (Reference count indicates it can no longer be used.) This is called garbage collection. It's a surprisingly tricky, and nuanced process to figure out when stuff should be deleted. You want to be pretty prompt in deleting stuff that is no longer used so it doesn't sit around using memory for no reason. But, you don't want your garbage collector to be so manic about cleaning things up that the actual program doesn't get enough CPU time to get anything done. You also want a garbage collector to be fairly predictable. It's great if it usually has a low overhead, but terribly if it occasionally goes insane and locks everything up for three minutes under some use cases.

      This new garbage collector is a little more sane, a little quicker and a little less manic. For many well written programs, the difference won't be that huge because they shouldn't creating and abandoning enough stuff for garbage collector to really matter. At least, that's my assumption. If I ever actually meet a well written program, I'll be able to verify that. :)

    • by KeithIrwin ( 243301 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:20PM (#28142369)

      When computer programs need to keep track of information, they store it in the computer's memory. The information they store is generally arranged into structures. In object-oriented languages like Java, these structures are called objects. Every object has to have its own place in memory, called an address. Two different objects cannot use the same space in memory at the same time. When a program has a new object that it needs to create, it has to know where to put it. To do this, it uses a system which allocates some memory for it. When the program is done with the object, it should be deallocated so that the same memory can later be used for a different object. If objects are not deallocated when they are done being used, then the program will grow to take up more and more memory over time until the computer runs out of memory. This is called a memory leak.

      There are two main scheme for deallocating an object's memory once the program is done with it. Older programming languages use explicit memory deallocation, meaning that when the program is done with an object, it says so. This can unfortunately be somewhat problematic. If a program forgets to say that it's done with an object, then that object never gets deallocated and the program leaks memory. If the program says that it's done with an object when some other part of the program is still using the object, then a new object of a different type might be written over the old object but because the other part of the program doesn't know this has happened, all sorts of odd problems can occur.

      To solve this many newer languages including Java use a technique called garbage collection. In a garbage collecting language, the program does not explicitly say when it is done with an object. Instead the garbage collection system examines the cross-references between different objects to determine whether or not it is still possible for the program to use a particular object. If using it is impossible, then the system will deallocate it. In most systems, the garbage collection doesn't run continually swooping up every new bit of space the moment it becomes available, but instead just runs periodically clearing out anything which has become unusable since the last time it ran.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bjourne ( 1034822 )

      A gc (garbage collector) is what programmers use instead of manually handling memory. In non-gc languages such as C programmers have to spend a lot of time being careful not to inadvertently create memory leaks. So programming in languages with gc is generally faster than in those without.

      The drawback is that memory is often handled less efficiently by the gc than by the programmer so the program becomes slower and uses more memory. However that depends on the quality of the gc. It is quite easy to write a

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:29PM (#28142517) Homepage Journal

      So, which pay-for-answers site do you plan to post the responses on? Or are you feeding a plagiarism detector?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mikael ( 484 )

      When you create objects to represent information consisting of things like character strings, arrays, lists and hierarchical trees, you make a system call to create a new list of data objects.

      In languages like 'C', this would be like 'malloc( number of bytes) ' or 'calloc( number of bytes)'. You would then have to match every such call with an equivalent 'free( pointer)' to ensure the memory was freed. Failure to do so leads to 'memory leaks' where the memory space is allocated but incorrectly freed (caused

    • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @04:41PM (#28143485) Homepage Journal

      As a beer drinker, I drink lots of beer. When I was a C++ programmer, I had to make sure I threw away my empty beer cans after drinking the beer. Unfortunately, occasionally, I forgot to do that and pretty soon my room would fill up with empty beer cans so that I couldn't get to the fridge to get more beer out of it.

      However, now I am a Java programmer and I have a servant (a beer can collector) who comes around and clears up the beer cans for me every now and again. I no longer have to worry about throwing them away myself.

      • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @06:45PM (#28145003)

        good analogy - except you forgot some important bits:

        1. you have to ensure you drink all the beer, and not leave any in the can, or the servant will give it a little shake, and think "masters not finished with this one yet, I'd best leave it".

        2. You are never surrounded by a clean room, there are always empty beer cans lying around waiting for the servant to collect them.

        Now, as a C++ drinker, I have a mechanism that help out, every time I go to the fridge to get a beer, I pour it into the glass object and throw the can away immediately - thus never having empty cans lying around, when the glass is empty, I refill and find the empty can problem is a non-issue. (that's such a convoluted analogy for RAII!)

  • by thomasdz ( 178114 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:05PM (#28142099)

    Shouldn't we have "recycling collection" instead of "garbage collection"?
    C'mon guys all those big 1MB and 4MB malloc()s are being shipped over to third world countries to be disassembled into bits and bytes. We should be recycling things HERE.... not throwing them away for Java to come and pick up.

  • Troll? (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamhigh ( 1252742 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:06PM (#28142117)
    If you post a troll comment to an article tagged troll, do you get insightful mods?

    In Soviet Russia, article trolls you!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by keithjr ( 1091829 )
      Only if the article actually is a sensationalist piece of trolling. Sun is releasing an experimental feature to a subset of customers rather than the entire world. And Oracle does not own Sun yet, since the deal has not even been finalized, and therefore is not making decisions about Java.

      Slashdot, you disappoint me. Again.
  • by MarkEst1973 ( 769601 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:06PM (#28142119)
    JRockit has all kinds of monitoring features, memory profilers, and other useful metrics built into the JRE, but you need a license key to unlock them. Core Java was always free. You pay for the value-added stuff.
  • Perhaps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:07PM (#28142157)

    "Will OpenJDK be doomed to a feature-castrated backwater while all the good stuff goes into the new Java SE for Business commercial version?""

    Perhaps. But now that its GPL, maybe IBM, RH and the rest of Java's stakeholders will get onto making openjdk better than oracle's. Ill sure contribute: this is a strategic need for the foss movement.

  • by ensignyu ( 417022 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:10PM (#28142193)

    To try G1, specify these command line options:

    -XX:+UnlockExperimentalVMOptions -XX:+UseG1GC

    I don't see anything obvious preventing you from using it (no license/support keys?), it's just not recommended since it's experimental. If you're crazy enough to use it on a production server, you better have a support contract so Sun/Oracle can fix any problems that come along. That seems reasonable.

    Although it'd be better if they just said "don't use it for production, period."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fatp ( 1171151 )
      It is the tradition of Oracle to distribute software with all functionality (including those separately licensed expensively) and let the user to make sure they don't use unlicensed features.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        For those who need this spelled out:

        1. Distribute working but unlicensed software
        2. Encourage developers to use the software
        3. Audit companies using said software
        4. Profit!

        We've gone through more than one episode that starts with: "shite -- we have to rip out this proprietary Oracle crap or pay another X (usually 6+ figures) per year in licensing fees.

        The more devious method Oracle also uses is:

        1. Package licensed software components into specific products
        2. Change products, moving commonly used

    • by deraj123 ( 1225722 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:31PM (#28142551)

      I don't know...the release notes specifically say:

      Although G1 is available for use in this release, note that production use of G1 is only permitted where a Java support contract has been purchased.

      On the other hand, I was unable to find any specific mention of G1 anywhere in the licensing agreement. However, I did find this:

      Sun grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited license without license fees to reproduce and use internally Software complete and unmodified for the sole purpose of running Programs.

      If anyone is able to point out in the actual licensing where the quote from the release notes is backed up, I'd be interested. (text near the second quote there did allow for "exceptions" and "supplemental terms" - but I wasn't able to find any pertaining to G1)

  • by Dystopian Rebel ( 714995 ) * on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:10PM (#28142197) Journal

    I just know you're going to make a lengthy complaint thread of this.

    If you would simply put down your Silver Surfer comics, comb the crumbs and insects out of your beards, cut your straggly hair, have a bath and a good scrub, and eagerly learn all the new technologies as our Marketing department invents them (and disposes of the old technologies), we could see the dawn of a New Age of incredibly rich CEOs and VPs who live in mansions, collect cars, race boats and planes, and in general protect the freedoms that your betters fought so hard to establish.

    The meek shall inherit my EULA.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:10PM (#28142199)

    The G1 collector is still a "work in progress" so they are suggesting that you use it *in production* only if you have a support contract with Sun (Oracle?). This is not a big deal. You can still use it, just enable it with "-XX:+UnlockExperimentalVMOptions -XX:+UseG1GC" on the command line...

    • The G1 collector is still a "work in progress" so they are suggesting that you use it *in production* only if you have a support contract with Sun (Oracle?). This is not a big deal. You can still use it, just enable it with "-XX:+UnlockExperimentalVMOptions -XX:+UseG1GC" on the command line...

      Your pragmatism and obvious correctness has no place on this site. Good day, Sir.

  • by Alzheimers ( 467217 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:13PM (#28142255)

    Meet Vinny and Guido, my business associates in the waste management business.

    You see, it's like this. I gotta eat. My kids gotta eat. Vinny and Guido's families have to eat.

    We know where you live. It's a nice place, big houses, fancy cars. You can afford to eat, very well.

    You wouldn't your neighboorhood to fall victim to all sorts of garbage dumpers, would you? How about a recycling plant, right next to where you work?

    No? Well, I'm sure you'll understand when I say that it is in your best interest to respect our business model. Or else, Vinny and Guido might have to go hungry for a bit. And I assure you, they get very unfriendly when they get hungry.


    • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:31PM (#28142553) Homepage

      That's a real nice production server you got here. It'd be a shame to see something unfortunate happen to it. I mean a server room's a dangerous place, ain' it? You got cables and electricity around and, well... accidents happen, if you know what I mean.

      Especially with garbage lyin' around all over your memory. Pipes could get clogged, tables could fill up, processes could meet an untimely demise... you know what I'm talking about.

      Now for a very reasonable fee, we can see that your garbage is collected regularly. It's a very small fee, once you think about what could happen if you didn't have folks like us around to help you. We'll see that this very nice production server continues to run in tip-top shape. Yes, our small garbage collection fee could help you avoid all sorts of unpleasantness...

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:13PM (#28142265) Homepage

    Methinks they just want to make damn sure nobody uses this feature in a production environment. This is more of a sneak peek for paying customers who are contractually bound against using this in a production environment.

    If this was included in the standard distribution, then people would use it no matter what the documentation said. And then Sun would be saddled with bug reports and whining.

  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:15PM (#28142289)

    The ongoing problem with FOSS is that hard, un-cool, gritty, vital work ultimately takes money to do right. Cool gets projects only so far; money is needed for viable completion.

  • by TeaCurran ( 575365 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:28PM (#28142509) Homepage
    G1 is in the latest OpenJDK builds. Since it is GPL you are free to use it without any license restrictions.

    The note in the release notes is only saying that Sun won't officially support it in their releases without a support contract.

    If you are concerned, use OpenJDK.
  • by NewbieProgrammerMan ( 558327 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:43PM (#28142723)

    So the Oracle touch is already taking effect.

    Fork you, Oracle!

  • by cneth ( 718384 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:44PM (#28142741)
    Oracle does not yet own Sun and can't (yet) set business direction for it. It's just a new, experimental feature, folks.
  • sensationalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:46PM (#28142769) Homepage

    The slashdot summary seems to me to have a heavy dose of sensationalism.

    Oracle's implementation of java is GPL'd. What more do we want from them?

    I doubt that there's been any recent research that's uncovered some fantastic new mechanism for garbage collection that was never known before. Garbage collection used to suck, and that was one of the problems, historically, with LISP. Over the decades, garbage collection has gradually gotten better. All the improvements in garbage collection are in the public domain. Gc is not generally a performance bottleneck for modern garbage-collected languages.

    It would be slightly more worrisome if this new gc algorithm was patented -- but I haven't seen any evidence that it is. If it's not, then nothing is preventing anyone from making a fully GPL'd version of java with the new algorithm. If it was patented, then this would be a problem for all garbage-collected languages with open-source implemtations, not just java.

    Does java's performance really depend much on the efficiency of its gc? My main complaint about java's performance is that the VM and libraries take too long to load.

  • by jeanph01 ( 700760 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @03:48PM (#28142791)
    Here [] what sun says about it : The Garbage-First garbage collector (G1 for short) is the next-generation low-pause garbage collector that will be included in the Java HotSpot virtual machine. G1 will be the long-term replacement for the Concurrent Mark-Sweep (or CMS) garbage collector, Sun's current low-pause garbage collector. G1 targets medium to large multiprocessor machines and large heaps, relying heavily on the concurrency and parallelism such machines offer. Like CMS, G1 is generational, which benefits throughput. Unlike CMS, G1 compacts to battle fragmentation and to achieve more-consistent long-term operation. As its name suggests, G1 concentrates its collection and compaction activity first on the areas of the heap that are likely to be full of reclaimable objects, thus improving its efficiency. G1 uses a pause prediction model to meet user-defined pause time targets. It achieves smoother pause times than CMS, with fewer or no outliers at comparable or better throughput, as this presentation shows. The initial target pause times are in the low tens of milliseconds. === So this is more for entreprise multiprocessors, multiservers java. And those entreprise normally will buy a support contract. So it's almost a no news.
  • Irrelevant (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackus ( 159037 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @08:56PM (#28146049) Homepage

    The entire Java Stack has long since been opened up. The community essentially owns it now. What Oracle does with "Java" I could care less.

    Anything that is worth while to build design and construct/maintain Java applications and VM's is all open source.

    If they want to fork and become irrelevant that is there choice.


  • by recharged95 ( 782975 ) on Friday May 29, 2009 @10:07PM (#28146427) Journal
    So basically what we're talking here is:
    • Use Sun's JDK and want support (i.e. you don't figure out the solution)? Pay for it.
    • Use openJDK and want support (ie.. you figure it out)? Have fun.


    Sounds like any other typical OSS business model from Ubuntu, Novell, RedHat, IBM, and even Microsoft.

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