28 Mar 2004 ncm   » (Master)

I was at the office with a colleague who has used Java in earnest on contract projects, when we saw the announcement that IBM had Freed their Jikes RVM. I started poking around to find out what it was, and when we finally uncovered the secret, we both laughed and laughed. You have to thankful for anything that yields such harmless mirth.

Lots of people code in Java, and probably lots more in Visual Basic. One can't sneer at the one without sneering at the other; they do get work done that they might otherwise bother me to do, so I have to be thankful for that, too. Hence, it does matter how easy it is to code for GNOME in languages like them. Mulling that over, I realized that the most effective way to make it easy to use GNOME in Java programs would be to change the Makefiles for core GNOME so that they are all compiled with G++. Then, just make sure all the callback sites (and sites those are called from, on up the line) are exception-safe.

After that, it only takes trivial (maybe automatically-generated) stub libraries to make the GNOME libraries safely callable from Java programs built with Gcj; the callbacks can throw exceptions right through GNOME back to the main program. Hack up a (minor) variation on Gcj to make it compile C# instead, and then C# integrates trivially, too, and offers an easy out once MS starts swinging the patent hammer. (Maybe Gcvb would follow, may-God-have-mercy.) My feeling, though, is that this all makes way too much sense ever to be embraced by the people who actually like those languages. Meanwhile, I suspect too many of the GNOME core people are too superstitious ever to use G++, for any reason.

Despite tromey's misgivings about Gcj-3.4, I think G++-3.4 will be the best release yet, and its iostreams will be faster than Glibc's stdio. (Thank Paolo Carlini, Petur Runolfsson, and Jerry Quinn for the latter.)

Tom, by the way, appears to be among those who wildly overestimate the value of the Java-1.5 "generics" feature. It's more akin to Ada's than to C++'s, which means that it adds only checking, but not expressive power.

In recent weeks I've been getting almost 1000 viruses a day in my e-mail, with improbably many of the forged "From:" addresses matching Gcc mailing list members. I'm beginning to suspect it's a deliberate DDOS attack. (Spam is nowhere near so heavy, for me, and although the viruses are easily filtered out, the bounce messages are less so.) Has there been any discussion of this elsewhere?

Linux-2.4.6, gnome-panel, Galeon, and Evolution are still working fine for me, mostly, except for the persnickety ALSA sound system. Orkut "I hate Java" membership is at 394, vs. "Lisp" at 389. "Lisp" will catch up, I'm confident. I should have kept a daily graph.

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