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News October 2006

Get rid of your performance problems and memory leaks!

Modern Garbage Collection Tuning
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Java 1.5 has been a slight disappointment for me. Well, perhaps I should clarify that. There is some great stuff in 1.5. I've previously mentioned that I think the improved monitoring is fabulous. The way MBeans are just all automatically supported by jconsole is pure excellence. It's great that Doug Lea's concurrent stuff was pushed into the core, top class multi-threading support is increasingly one of the most essential requirements for any language. And the performance is better, garbage collection is improved, ergonomics is a great idea.

So why am I disappointed? In a word, bugs. We are up to 1.5.0_09. That's update 9 after the full release. Two years after the full release. And I'm still hitting critical JVM bugs. I didn't even start testing 1.5 for production systems until update _05, and even that had to be stalled because of critical bugs that caused our systems to crash regularly. By _09 I'm now using 1.5 in production, but still seeing critical bugs causing the occasional crash.

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Well you might spring to Sun's defence and say that any complex system is going to have some bugs. And I run some extremely challenging Java applications that stresses Java in all sorts of different ways, so perhaps I should expect to hit some bugs. And I agree with you. Hitting the bugs is not what has disappointed me. No, I'm disappointed because almost all these critical bugs were already identified in the Bug parade, identified as critical, and a fair few of them have been fixed. Only not in 1.5. They are being fixed in 1.6. Or several 1.5 versions after they are fixed they got rolled in to a later 1.5 update.

It's all very well to focus on the next "full" release. But we need the most stable JVM possible in production. If these sorts of bugs are not rolled in to a stable current JVM release, then we aren't getting the most stable Java system possible, and eventually that could cause a loss in confidence in Java. And that's not something that I want to see.

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Now on to our newsletter. And we have Javva the Hutt continuing to tell us all about what he was doing while he was away. (For those of you who don't know Javva, or want a reminder, we've added a page for you to access all his old columns here.) And of course we have our other news, this months selected articles, tools, and of course our many new extracted performance tips


Java performance tuning related news.


Java performance tuning related tools.

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Jack Shirazi

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