Jikes News: December 15th, 1998

(Ed. note: Jikes is a compiler from Java source code to
bytecode. IBM released Jikes in source form on December 7,

Jikes News: 15 December 1998

Patience Please — we need some rest

The release of the Jikes source has met with an enthusiastic
reception. We are very happy about this and look forward to working
together actively with our new-found co-developers. We sense
everyone is eager to get to work, but we ask your patience.

First, please remember there are only the two of us — Philippe
and myself. We have been working non-stop since early December
1997. The only vacation we took this year was about eight days in
early August. I spent that time on the Maine coast; I also spent at
least two hours a night reading the comments from Slashdot readers
on the issue “Should IBM release the source for Jikes?”, preparing
a summary of the comments, and starting the proposal to management
to release the source. While on his vacation, Philippe spent
several hours a day in the Wellfleet public library adding a
cache-based file/directory management system; one result of this
was to reduce the time needed to compile a 400,000 line subset of
San Francisco from 1500+ seconds to 110 seconds on a 150Mhz Pentium
laptop running Win95.

I also got quite stressed out getting the source out in time. We
didn’t get the final wording of the license until Friday noon, just
three days before launch. I spent that weekend writing the FAQ and
web-site contents, and packaging the files (thanks to Nelson Minar
for uncovering a bug in the ZIP version late Sunday evening).
Indeed, a couple of weeks ago I had the following exchange with my
daughter Jennifer as I was driving her to school:

Dave: I probably have to go into work this Saturday,
and perhaps Sunday as well.
Jennifer: Dad, are Saturday and Sunday regular work days at
Dave: (gulp)

When I related this incident to a senior manager, he said something
along the lines of “Not a bad idea!”. I’m still recovering, and do
need some rest, but promise to be eager to go in the new year.

Philippe is also getting some rest, and says he probably won’t
be hacking on the code. This is good news, as I feared he would
come back from vacation with several thousand lines of diff’s for
the source. So we will probably all be able to start work with
source quite close to that first released once the licensing issues
are sorted out.

Thanks for the offers, but …

One of the arguments we put forth for releasing the Jikes source
was that it would help establish a precedent for IBM Research, and
also provide useful experience in what is needed to set up a
source-based development site and how to run it. Several people and
groups have made generous offers to run the mailing lists, provide
CVS support, etc. However, it’s important that we learn to do it
ourselves, even it means some delay to our eager developers chafing
at the bit to get hacking.

We will use CVS to maintain the source, and will make available
the full source tree in read-only mode. Since IBM Research is still
actively involved, only Philippe or I will make actual changes,
though we will make every effort to include voluntary user
contributions exactly as received, with credit given where credit
is due.

I asked Vadim about problem-reporting systems. He says he has
used Gnats and likes it. So we’ll go with that unless a better
suggestion comes in. We hope to have it in place soon.

Vadim named “lord of the patches”

I’ve asked Vadim Zaliva ([email protected]) to serve as
temporary “lord of the patches” until we add CVS and ftp support,
and he has agreed to collect patches for Jikes at his webset. You
can get them via Jikes


Search for “jikes” at yahoo. Nice
job, yahoo.


We thank Dave Whitinger of LinuxToday for posting some of our
recent news articles, and especially for his posting of Jennifer’s
“Shaking Hands” Jikes Masthead. Indeed, he even offered to put it
in their banner queue; Jennifer and I are thrilled — and very