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From Rick Moynihan <>
Subject Re: AW: Using ant as a cross platform java process launcher
Date Tue, 24 Apr 2007 17:38:47 GMT
Matt Benson wrote:
> --- Rick Moynihan <> wrote:
>> wrote:
>>>> So my questions to the ant community:
>>>> * What is commons launcher doing that ANT alone
>> isnt?
>>> Personally I havent heard from commons-launcher
>> before. As you said it
>>> seems
>>> that commons-launcher is a modified copy of
>> ant-launcher. So the best
>>> place
>>> to ask this would be (IMHO) the user@commons list.
>> I have already made inquiries on the
>> user/dev@commons lists, and I have 
>> also tried contacting the project developers
>> directly.  Unfortunately I 
>> have had little response, which I why I feel that
>> perhaps there is some 
>> interest within the ANT community.  Hence my posting
>> here.
> I haven't noticed your inquiries, but I follow those
> lists.  I have recently become a Jakarta committer,
> and it is my intention to try to become more involved
> with commons development, especially with regard to
> components forked from Ant (e.g. exec).  So I would
> encourage you to post JIRA issues and nag commons-dev
> for attention.  Launcher is counted among commons
> proper, but if there is little attention to it it's
> probably considered to be in maintenance mode.
> HTH,
> Matt

Thanks for responding.  Here's a link to a short thread of discussion I 
started on the commons-dev list.

I am still open to the shepherding process, and the nagging etc it 
entails :).  I have decided to follow the issue up here primarily 
because I wonder why these features could not also be part of ANT?  I 
also think that commons-launcher has a large potential community of 
users within the larger ANT community.

What does maintenance-mode mean?  I'm guessing it means that the bugs 
against it aren't fixed, but that the source is still integrated with 
Apache's continuous integration/build-system and maintained (in so far 
as ensuring it always builds).  Is this correct?

Thanks again,


>>>> * Can ANT be used as a launch process for Java 
>>>> processes/daemons without significant problems?
>>> The ant-launcher is implemented in the package
>> oata.launch [1]. It was
>>> designed
>>> as a replacement to the very heavy start scripts
>> (bat,sh...). So it
>>> focused on
>>> Ant's needs.
>>> The launcher [2] does not start any new process -
>> it uses the current
>>> one. So I dont think that you can launch
>> processes/deamons with the
>>> launcher. BUT: maybe a buildfile with
>> <exec>/<java> and fork="true"
>>> would help.
>>> As this is beyond Ant's focus I would not say that
>> there are no
>>> significant problems. But _maybe_ it works ;-)
>> Thanks for the code pointers.  I'll be sure to take
>> a look at them.
>>>> * Is there any interest within the ANT community
>> to support this
>>>> use-case natively within ANT?
>>> Mmmh - there was a discussion earlier. The only
>> future I would see is a
>>> base or utility class without any Ant specific
>> stuff in ant-launcher
>>> which could be reused in Ant's own launcher. I
>> think that was the
>>> intention in commons-launcher.
>>> But Ant does not want to depend on a 3rd party
>> library in that core
>>> area. Have in mind: 400+ projects are using Ant
>> for their bootstrapping
>>> just in Gump ... And having a circular dependency
>> between Ant and
>>> commons-launcher is also not a good thing ...
>> Obviously I understand that ANT is a critically
>> important piece of 
>> infrastructure for a huge number of projects, and I
>> understand that 
>> ANT's primary focus is and always will be as a build
>> tool.
>> My only point is that *MAYBE* if it is not too much
>> work, ANT can be 
>> adapted to also fill this role.  I have looked at
>> other projects such as:
>> *
>> *
>> However I personally feel that reusing ANT build
>> files for this sort of 
>> thing is a more elegant solution, as it can leverage
>> knowledge of ANT 
>> for configuration of classpaths, properties, etc...
>> *If* the ant-launcher could be modified to support
>> this use-case without 
>> any external dependencies etc, I feel it would
>> nicely fill a need in the 
>> Java community.  Obviously adopting ANT to a task it
>> was not designed 
>> for is not a decision that should be taken lightly,
>> but I feel it would 
>> be valuable, and can't see why it should impact
>> ANT's use as a build tool.
>> At the end of the day, I like commons launcher and
>> would be completely 
>> happy with it, if it had a community behind it,
>> willing to fix the few 
>> bugs I have encountered and drive some more
>> features.
>> So, my current options appear to be either:
>> 1. Suggest the ANT project adopts the use-case of an
>> application launcher.
>> 2. Patch commons-launcher myself (which I may well
>> do) and persuade the 
>> project maintainers to accept my patches (unlikely
>> given the projects 
>> lack of developers/community).
>> 3. Fork commons-launcher and maintain it outside of
>> Apache.
>> The first suggestion is the lowest cost to me, as it
>> means others can 
>> maintain, run and manage the project.  I appreciate
>> that many factors 
>> are likely to prevent this.  If ANT can be modified
>> in the manner you 
>> suggest, what are the barriers?
>> The other two options require a significant
>> investment of my (and 
>> hopefully others) time.
>> What does the ANT community think?
>> R.
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