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From James Duncan Davidson <james.david...@eng.sun.com>
Subject Re: HotSpot Bashing (was RE: [spinnaker] Announce)
Date Mon, 10 Jul 2000 23:20:41 GMT
on 7/10/00 3:17 PM, Eric Hodges at harmony2@swbell.net wrote:

>> What you are asking for is that Sun would have kept Java inside
>> for another
>> 5 years to make it perfect. That would have been the right answer.
> That isn't what I'm asking for.

Maybe I was being a tad sarcastic for humor's sake. Of course it wasn't what
you were asking for. But there's been a lot of people who have asked "why
couldn't you get it right to start with". It's *hard*. Software development
is never as pretty as the marketing makes it out to be. Or even our best

> How do you know when you're building a next gen parser?  Wasn't Xerces a
> next gen parser at some point?

Of course. Everything is NG at some point. Alll software goes through
genesis --> development --> stable --> maturing --> established.

> If Sun releases a new VM while Spinnaker is still being developed, will you
> go back and change the way it was written?

Hopefully writing simply will take care of things. I don't really want to
see much in the way of Hotspot optimizations either though. I believe that
code clarity is first and formost. If you lose 10% perf, 20% perf, then I
can live with that.

But if in 2 years we ended up with a new VM coming out which the NG parser
couldn't live with, then I'd probably look at redoing again.

> When do we get to write and use a current gen parser?

You've got one right now. Crimson is pretty close to being a parser that
works *really* well on Hotspot. It however isn't as featured as Xerces.
Also, I didn't want to waltz in and propose doing a lot of work on Crimson
as I felt that you'd all attack me for starting a Sun vs. IBM war. In
retrospect though.. :)

> I come to praise HotSpot, not to bash it.  Well, a little bashing.  HotSpot
> is way cool.  I've seen the light.  I'm convinced that someday HotSpot or a
> similar technology will prove that virtual machines can outperform real
> machines for most useful computing tasks.  But HotSpot should take the
> Hippocratic oath.  "First, do no harm."

Note -- I've talked about as authoritatively for HotSpot as I can. I'm not a
HotSpot team member and to go any deeper is dangerous. I have asked that
somebody from the Hotspot team contribute... But... I do contribute from the
standpoint of somebody who wrote a hellish amount of optimized code for 1.1,
and then watched as Hotspot hated it (over 2 years ago in early HotSpot
days), worked with the HotSpot team on it, and was convinced by argument
that premature optimization was the root of all evil. I just wish I could
remember the arguments. :)

> No, I just want HotSpot to quickly learn that class X can't benefit from run
> time optimizations and remeber that the next time I load class X.  I can
> think of several schemes for doing this.  They don't seem too complex to me,
> but I may be missing something.

It would be interesting to hear the results of this. I've wondered myself
why there wasn't a cache of tweaked code held away for inter-run storage.


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