Maintenance Review of the Java VM Specification

The Java Virtual Machine Specification is the authoritative reference for the design of the Java virtual machine that underpins the Java SE platform. In an implementation-independent manner, the Specification describes the architecture, linking model, and instruction set of the Java virtual machine, plus the class file format.

Many Java developers are familiar with the book, "The Java Virtual Machine Specification, Second Edition" (1999). Officially, the Specification is maintained in the Java Community Process as JSR 924. The Specification has incorporated changes arising in 2004 from a Maintenance Review for Java SE 5.0, and in 2006 from JSR 202 in Java SE 6.

However, no single document was available that incorporated all these changes plus the smaller corrections and improvements that are made from time to time. A single document is needed to serve as the base for further changes in Java SE 7 and beyond.

Oracle has now produced such a document. Per the JCP maintenance procedure, Oracle initiated a Maintenance Review of JSR 924 in February 2011. It proposes the "Java SE 7 Edition" of the Java Virtual Machine Specification.

Changes for JSR 292 are not included because they are not yet final. They will be integrated before Java SE 7 goes final.

As Maintenance Lead for JSR 924, I hope you find the proposed Specification interesting and useful. If you have substantive technical comments about the specific changes proposed for the Java SE 7 Edition, please send them to me directly.

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Alex Buckley is the Specification Lead for the Java language and JVM at Oracle.

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