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Hacking Open Source javac!

Posted by tball on November 13, 2006 at 1:20 PM PST

Hallelujah! Java SE is now an open-source project, with the HotSpot VM and javac as its first sub-projects.

This is great news for anyone interested in Java performance, as the world now has full-access to both the static (javac) and dynamic (HotSpot) optimizing compilers from Sun's Java implementation.
Remember back when everyone laughed at the prediction that with dynamic compilers like HotSpot, Java performance will eventually surpass C++? This is starting to happen now with the continued performance gains in Java 5 and soon Java 6. My hope is that an open-source HotSpot and javac will encourage the world's best and brightest to augment the excellent work of the JDK team to drive Java performance further.

So how can you start contributing? The first step is to download and build the source using the links above. But wait! There is an easier way to work with javac's source: NetBeans has a brand-new nb-openjdk project which makes downloading and building the javac source painless and productive. My guess is that this project will grow to support the HotSpot project as well as the rest of the JDK's components as they are released. Happy hacking.

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