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Another Believer

Posted by editor on February 17, 2009 at 3:43 AM PST

Impressed again by Zero

For such an unassuming name, Zero is a project with astounding potential. We've mentioned it before, because the potential of the project is exceptional: Zero is Java without the hand-porting of assembly code from one platform to another. That means Zero could be apt-get install openjdk on any architecture that has a C compiler.

Sure, you give up machine code and you give up speed. But the project also includes "Shark", a JIT that operates within the rapidly-evolving world of the Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM) project.

But let's be wary of premature optimization. Better to get things right. That's what's so remarkable about the announcement in Gary Benson's blog State of the world:

Well, in case you missed it, Zero passed the TCK! Specifically, the latest OpenJDK packages in Fedora 10 for 32- and 64-bit PowerPC passed the Java SE 6 TCK and are compatible with the Java SE 6 platform. I’ve been working toward this since sometime in November — the sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed the steady stream of obscure fixes I’ve been committing — and the final 200 hour marathon finished at 5pm on FOSDEM Saturday, less than 24 hours before my talk.


Of course, all of this wasn’t just so I’d have something exciting to announce at FOSDEM. In a way it validates the decision we took at Red Hat to focus on Zero rather than using Cacao or another VM. By using as much OpenJDK code as possible — Zero builds are 99% HotSpot — we get as much OpenJDK goodness as possible, including the “correctness” of the code. Zero’s speed can make it a standing joke, but I’d like to use these passes to emphasize that Zero isn’t just a neat hack — it’s production quality code that hasn’t been optimized yet. I’ve written fast code and I’ve written correct code, and in my experience it’s easier in the long run to make correct code fast than it is to make fast code correct. The TCK isn’t everything, naturally, but the fact that it’s possible to pass it using Zero builds gives us a firm foundation for future work.

So what's next? Resumed work on Shark to get Zero running right and fast... as perhaps upstream contributions from Zero to OpenJDK. Congratulations to Gary; this remains a fascinating project.

Also in Java Today, the Artima interview Sun's Jeet Kaul on JavaFX Mobile, features the vice president of Sun's client group talking about the relationship between JavaFX Mobile and Java ME, and how JavaFX Mobile enables consistent applications across mobile devices.

In the 31-minute video interview Deep Dive: JavaFX, An Interview With Jacob Lehrbaum, host Ed Ort is joined by Jacob Lehrbaum, the Senior Product Line Manager for JavaFX Marketing at Sun Microsystems, to demonstrate some of the exciting features in the platform.

In today's Weblogs, John O'Conner wonders
Do we have a JavaFX Community site? "I know we have, but I wouldn't call that a community site really. You get all the JavaFX announcements, downloads, docs...sure that's important. However, I'm not sure that makes a community site."

Bruno Ghisi reports that Sun has fixed SBDTV Forum's messy with the new Java DTV specification. "After a lot of royalty issues in the Brazilian middleware Java subsystem (Ginga-J), Sun has helped SBDTV Forum and released Java DTV specification."

Finally, Cay Horstmann offers
A Simple Servlet for Running JUnit in Glassfish. "When teaching unit testing in the context of an EJB3.1 application, I was looking for an easy way of testing managed beans and session beans inside Glassfish. I hit upon a scheme that I had not seen elsewhere: put the unit tests in the container and trigger them with a servlet that reports the outcomes. Here is the (very simple) setup."

In today's Forums, patrickjusseau is apparently thwarted by a recent JDIC change in jdic 0.9.5 libs already signed???. "I am trying to embed the jdic 0.9.5 jars in a program that I deploy using JWS. This is not working since the shipping 0.9.5 jars seem to be already signed. I have an ant build script that signs all the jar libraries I use in my program. Since there are 2 different sign certificates (the one I use and the one used by JDIC), JWS fails to launch properly on the client machine. So why are the 0.9.5 JDIC jars signed? The 0.9.4 jars were not signed and I am able to successfully use them."

cowwoc is frustrated by information about the Scene Graph project, in
Re: Using SceneGraph in commercial application. "Why can't the scenegraph developers give a clear answer as to what is going on? Even stating that you're not allowed to discuss the license or roadmap would be more useful than the silence treatment I see in the mailing list archives. This is very reminiscent the way Sun dumped Java3D."

jimav asks for 6u14 secrets in
Re: 64 bit plugin and compiz. "lucabotti, would you mind very briefly saying how and where you obtained the 6u14 amd64 firefox plugin? The usual mozilla plugin structure with is absent from the files installed by jdk-6u14-ea-bin-b01-linux-amd64-03_feb_2009.bin. I realize this question is off-topic, but since you apparently were able to test the amd64 plugin, you possess some key knowledge which does not yet exist in the browser-plugin documentation (which was written for 6u10 or before)."

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Impressed again by Zero