[kaffe] Future directions for Kaffe

Guilhem Lavaux guilhem at kaffe.org
Mon Mar 26 14:11:39 PDT 2007

Hi Jim !

Kaffe has been quite dormant these weeks and it is also probably my
fault. I am just damn busy with ph.d work.

* I like Kaffe because it has helped me learn a lot of things from
computers without hurting me too much by looking at large project. Also
I guess kaffe can still be easily ported to other architecture.

* I have a partly working new jit3-v2.0 which is able to cope with 64
bits arch. AMD64 is still giving some failures in the test suite
(something like 30 failures for 160 tests). I will update the other jit3
 when I have this one working. I hope to anyway check it in CVS after
the next release.

* AWT needs some work. I have not had time to check by myself but
Riccardo reported there was problems running it. It will also be great
to finish porting our X native peerless AWT to make it work with
Classpath's "Swing" toolkit.

* On the hosting part, I am fairly open. Having a personnal webserver
has certainly its advantages but sourceforge.net, savannah ... may
handle cvs/svn directly in a more efficient way. I would vote to keep
our webserver for testing purpose though (running qemu-vm, having a
tinderbox...) and maybe the handling of webserver.



Jim Pick wrote:
> Hi everybody,
> It's been a quiet month on the mailing list so far.  That's partly my
> fault, I think, since the mailing list was broken for some time.
> It looks like the last CVS commit was 5 weeks ago.
> I see Dalibor went to FOSDEM, and did some talking about Kaffe there.
> So I'm assuming that the project isn't dead, it's just somewhat dormant.
>  It's been somewhat dead/dormant throughout much of it's history, but
> it's still here, isn't it?  :-)
> And clearly, all the free Java runtimes and Classpath are in a state of
> transition, as we wait for Sun to release the rest of OpenJDK.
> I'd like to liven up the list a bit, and maybe start a bit of discussion
> on where Kaffe should go next.
> Here are some things I'd like to talk about:
> * I definitely need to do some work on upgrading the server, and fixing
> up the website.  Currently it's running a really old version of Debian,
> so it needs to be upgraded.  I'm just scared of all the breakage that
> will happen.  I'm slowly building up my hosting capabilities, but it's
> just a hobby, and I have real life things going on, so I move at a
> glacial pace.  If anybody wants to help out with any of that, I'd really
> appreciate it.  I happy to keep hosting it indefinitely.
> * I think a wiki running on top of Kaffe would be really nice.  :-)
> * On the other hand, there are establishing free software hosting
> platforms like Sourceforge, Savannah, Google Code, etc. that might
> work better than just running everything on our own server.  Our current
> infrastructure is pretty much still using technology from the 1990s.  We
> don't even have a blog or a wiki, or any continuous integration or
> distributed version control.  I'm open to migrating things if that's
> what people would prefer.
> * Technically speaking, I'm still the project leader, by virtue of
> rescuing it from the ashes of Transvirtual.  But Dalibor is really the
> guy who has been doing most of the work.  I'm not really doing much with
> Kaffe personally, so if anybody else wants to step up and be a real
> project leader, feel free to volunteer.  I'm still happy to keep hosting
> the project and helping out with the releases.
> * Speaking of releases, we really should do another release sometime.
> * I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't even have Kaffe running on my
> new MacBook under OS X.  I got it to compile, but I couldn't get it to
> even run "Hello World".  If I spent some time on it, I imagine I could
> figure it out.  I just haven't spent the time.  I hope it still runs OK
> on Linux, but I haven't tried that recently either.
> * I also haven't been responding to emails asking me for help getting
> Kaffe to run.  I'd like to, but since I don't even have it working for
> myself, I'm not really in a position to help out.  I get so much spam
> nowadays that I hardly even use email anymore.  I notice that most
> requests for help to the mailing list are going unanswered as well.
> * I'm still interested in playing with Java virtualization, and I'm very
> excited about OpenJDK coming out.  JRuby looks really interesting to me.
>  For my own projects, I'm guessing I'd probably use OpenJDK in
> preference to Kaffe in the future, since it's likely to be a lot less
> effort to get it working the way I want it to.
> * That said, I think Kaffe has been a seminal project in terms of
> getting free Java off the ground, and I'd hate to see it die.  A lot of
> interesting projects have used Kaffe as a starting point.
> * I imagine that in the future, people will most likely look to OpenJDK
> as a starting point to add their enhancements.  Is there still a role
> for Kaffe to play here?
> * I think Kaffe probably is still the simplest full JVM implementation
> that isn't just an interpreter.  It's been used for all manner of exotic
> porting projects that might just be too hard to do using something like
> OpenJDK or gcj.
> * Kaffe is licensed under the GPLv2.  So is OpenJDK.  But Kaffe doesn't
> require copyright assignment, and we're pretty open.  Sun doesn't have
> to vette the code going into Kaffe.  That suggests that perhaps we could
> merge in large parts of OpenJDK, and provide a place for people to do
> really experimental stuff that Sun isn't going to permit in their
> version.  Is this something we should consider?
> * In other words, should we go big?  And merge in as much stuff as
> possible.  That could be problematic, since Kaffe is already pretty
> huge.  Maybe we could adopt more of a "distribution" approach, and break
> things into a bunch of modules that are all developed to work together?
> * Or maybe we should try to stay small?  And just try to be an easily
> hackable, simple virtual machine with a crude compiler framework, and
> nothing else?  That would involve jettisoning or spinning out a lot of
> the integration work that's been done over the last few years, I think.
> * I think we've been trending towards the "go big" direction for some
> time, with all the Classpath merging and other projects, and the core
> has been somewhat neglected.  It's been really good to support Classpath
> this way, and it's helped to get a lot of Java stuff integrated into
> Debian.  On the other hand, I think the build itself is just too
> intimidating.  It's massive.  I think most prospective developers would
> probably give up before getting it to build the first time.  Our
> configure scripts are almost an operating system in and of themselves.  :-)
> * If anybody is currently doing something interesting with Kaffe, or has
> any aspirations for it, please send some email to the list!  We need the
> ideas and the traffic!
> Cheers,
>  - Jim
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