Rock Stars Tony Printezis and Raghavan Srinivas Chime in on the Future of Java

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by Janice J. Heiss

I caught up with two JavaOne Rock Stars, Tony Printezis of Oracle and Raghavan Srinivas, a Java evangelist known for keeping his finger to the wind, to get their take on Java and JavaOne.

I asked Printezis, a leading expert on Garbage Collection and Java about this year's JavaOne.

"This is an important year for JavaOne, given that it has a new September time slot, 3 new venues, and a new host. But despite these changes, it remains the premier destination for someone who would like to learn about the latest developments on the Java platform from the top experts in the field. So, I'm confident that despite the changes, attendees will find the material as educational, helpful, and high in quality as in past years. Also, the fact that JavaOne is colocated with OpenWorld will give attendees the opportunity to take advantage of both events to make their trip to San Francisco even more worthwhile."

And what about the state of the platform?

"Clearly, 2010 has been a year of big and disruptive changes, which have inevitably affected our day-to-day work and progress. However, Oracle is committed to growing and investing in the Java platform. So, despite all the distractions we've had over the past several months, we are continuing to innovate and improve the Java platform as aggressively as before."

And the trend that Java developers should give their attention to?

"I have been fascinated by all the work that is being done to run other languages on top of the JVM. And the fact that they can easily interoperate with Java (after all, it's all Java bytecodes!) introduces many interesting opportunities to developers. Why not write each part of your system in the language that is most appropriate for it and get it all to run on a state-of-the-art JVM which will be able to do optimizations across language boundaries?"

I asked about his Thursday session, "The Garbage Collection Mythbusters," a session so popular, that, with the morning session full, he is offering a second session in the afternoon.

"I've been talking to customers and developers about GC for years. And I quickly got the impression that a lot of folks have big misunderstandings about what the GC can and cannot do. In fact, we have received a lot of requests over the years suggesting GC improvements that were plainly unreasonable. So, John Coomes, my co-speaker, and I thought that giving a talk that clarifies a lot of these misunderstandings would be helpful to the audience.

Tony is also giving a session on GC tuning in the HotSpot Java Virtual Machine.

"This is a follow-up to the talk on the same topic that Charlie Hunt and I gave at last year's JavaOne. We started the talk claiming that 'GC tuning is an art and we cannot give a general recipe on how to do it.' This year we are going to do exactly that. We have come up with a methodology that should be applicable to a large variety of situations. We also received a lot of helpful input from Jon Masamitsu, who's the GC group's tech lead. It was a fair amount of work so we are looking forward to presenting it. Hopefully the audience will find it helpful and the talk will be as well received as last year's."

Q: Where do you see GC heading in the future?

A: Bigger heaps, better latencies, much more garbage!

Eight Myths about Garbage Collection

For the curious, here is a list of the GC myths that Tony will be busting on Thursday:

  1. Reference counting GC will solve all my latency problems.
  2. Malloc/free will always perform better than GC.
  3. Finalizers should be called promptly, as soon as objects become unreachable.
  4. Garbage collection will eliminate all memory leaks.
  5. Life would be so much better if I could explicitly deallocate some important objects, since I know when they're unreachable.
  6. I can get a GC that delivers both very high throughput and very low latency.
  7. I need to disable GC in critical sections of my code.
  8. Anything I can write in a system with GC, I can write with malloc/free.

Raghavan Srinivas, a Java Evangelist for Sun Microsystems for many years, had some things to say about where technology is headed.

I asked him to tell us about the next big technology revolution.

"Hadoop and the NoSQL movement. Hadoop is an Apache Open Source project based on moving code around and keeping data localized so that you don't have to deal with data latency. This is wonderful when dealing with TerraBytes and even PeteBytes of data that enterprises are producing and consuming these days. It offers a very simple paradigm for developers based on Map/Reduce and the framework hides most of the underlying complexity of load distribution, data replication and so on. If you're familiar with Peter Deutsh's fallacies of computing, you can see how such fallacies have come back to haunt many distributed systems. This new framework solves many such problems. It's a great infrastructure for Cloud Computing. Companies, big and small are already adopting these technologies and the initial enthusiasm reminds me of Java."


Will the GC talk/session be available on-line?

Posted by Chris Lowe on September 20, 2010 at 05:33 PM PDT #

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