[kaffe] Harmony, Kaffe and all that

Dalibor Topic robilad at kaffe.org
Mon May 9 19:45:39 PDT 2005

Hi all,

chances are by now that you've heard about the Apache Harmony project. 
The original (pretty ambiguous, unfortunetaly) announcement[1] and 
FAQ[2] from Geir left a few things for me to clear up[3], which is what 
my weekend ended up being used on all over the usual IRC channels. Argh. ;)

Anyway, I posted some further clarifications[4] on the harmony mailing 
list, explaining where all those modular VM interface ideas about 
interchangeable components come from in the Kaffe/gcj context. Mark's 
e-mail to the classpath list summs[5] up things very nicely, and puts 
everything in a bigger context, including a few useful links to posts 
from the harmony list. Additionally, Anthony gave away the plan for 
world domination for GNU Classpath based runtimes in his blog[6].

We'll see what comes out of it. I am pretty optimistic that Harmony will 
at least lead to ASF and FSF working out the license incompatibilities, 
which would actually be a massive achievement. Probably a bigger one 
than writing a VM ;)

I'm also optimistic, that it will generate a lot of enhusiasm for 
hacking on GNU Classpath in general. Given the way the ASF is setup [7], 
though, it is very unlikely that they would adopt Kaffe as their runtime 
of choice. Otoh, that's not necessary either, as far as I can tell, as 
the general idea is to come up with a set of interfaces for pluggable VM 
components, which could provide us with a few more interesting providers 
of core VM components to pick from and collaborate with. Under the 
constraint that the licensing incompatibilities get sorted out, a pretty 
interesting option. There are also some other ideas I had discussions on 
IRC with some other runtime developers, like using OSGi in the VM core, etc.

Unsurprisingly, Apache seems to be able to bring people at one table 
both the Free Software world, and the non-free software world. So 
Harmony looks like an interesting place to discuss some things regarding 
implementations that both free software and non.free software might 
profit from, which essentially boils down to pluggable, configurable VMs 
afaict. We'll see how that technical discussion works out, it is a 
direction in which Kaffe has been gradually moving as well.

All of that politicking gave me little time to do actual work, i.e. 
hacking. But thanks to other Kaffe hackers, things are moving forwards 
very nicely. Among a dozen or so other things, Guilhem fixed the ugly 
'bootstrap-ant crashes on SMP system' problem for all I can see from 
gump results, so that our brutus page is back up with better results 
than ever [8]. My own plate will be full with finally resyncing between 
Kaffe and Classpath, now that the big post-Harmony-announcement storm is 

As I got invited to speak at FISL[9], I'd like to do a round of 
resyncing, merging in the fixes, and documentation improvements, and 
kick 1.1.6 out of the door in two-three weeks, so that we can have 
another nice release of Kaffe ready in time. Would that suit everybody?

dalibor topic

[3] http://www.advogato.org/person/robilad/diary.html?start=67
[5] http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.java.classpath.devel/5521
[6] http://www.spindazzle.org/green/index.php?p=47
[7] Afaik it needs copright assigment on a project to be accepted into 
Apache, which alone would seem to be pretty hard to get altogether on 
the whole Kaffe codebase. Probably it would need relicensing as well, so 
I guess it is out of the reach, unless someone really desperately wants 
to see it happen.
[8] http://brutus.apache.org/gump/kaffe/project_todos.html
[9] https://fisl.softwarelivre.org/6.0/

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