Facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation in professional software development



Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage Presentations How The JVM Spec Came To Be

How The JVM Spec Came To Be



In this keynote from the JVM Languages Summit 2008, James Gosling discusses how his history with programming languages led to Java's creation, code as algebra, how users use a product in very unusual ways, Java as a compromise between C and scripting languages, ANDF and Virtual Machines, pointer integrity, the Java object model, gotos and multilevel breaks, primitives and optimization tricks.


James Gosling received a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, Canada in 1977. He received a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1983. He is currently a VP & Fellow at Sun Microsystems. He did the original design of the Java programming language and implemented its original compiler and virtual machine.

About the conference

The 2008 JVM Language Summit is an open technical collaboration among language designers, compiler writers, tool builders, runtime engineers, and VM architects. The talks inform the audience, in detail, about the state of the art of language design and implementation on the JVM, and the present and future capabilities of the JVM itself.

Recorded at:

Oct 29, 2008

Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Community comments

  • Good Presentation.

    by Sara Jay,

    • Good Presentation.

      by Sara Jay,

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      Thanks for the great presentation. Java changed the way the world thought about programming. Imagine the millions and millions of dollars in profit for businesses around the world that run on an open source platform. You are a true legend, James.

    • Re: Good Presentation.

      by Sara Jay,

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      There was a snippet in one of the slides that "Java generally beats C/C++ in performance".

      In the 3d gaming industry, those applications (games) tax the maximum out of the hardware and bring high end gaming hardware to its knees. Why is C++/VC++ the preferred programming language over Java? Is it because the DirectX/Open GL libraries are not well suited for Java, or are there inherent limitations in Java that does not allow it to beat C++ in sheer graphical performance.

      We have seen the gaming industry thought leaders such as John Carmack, regularly give their opinions about Java such as "Its a good way to make the gaming performance a tenth of what it should have been".

      I think probably a Java gaming edition (Am I coining a term here), should be created which has the OpenGL and DirectX compatibility and a VM tuned for maximum 3d performance in games. Programming will become a great deal easier as well for the thousands of game developers around the world. Imagine Crysis/Call of Duty 4/Unreal 3 running on a VM, that would be nice.

      Also imagine, just upgrading the VM version to have faster 3d performance (impossible in today's games, you need to upgrade the hardware).

    • Re: Good Presentation.

      by Tero Vaananen,

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      There is plenty of support for 3d game development in Java. See JMonkey Engine, for example. These generally use low level bindings to OpenGL via JOGL or similar.

      I am not an expert, but I think that the native bindings can be a bit slow and can tax the Java implementations. There are ways to reduce the interaction by batching the OpenGL operations, and have better performance, but clearly you can't get the same performance in this respect.

      Bytonic Software had a little demo of Quake running in Java, a couple of years back. If you look at the benchmarks it becomes clear that it is possible to run 3d games in Java with better performance than the original C version. This is not to say that the 3d engines in C/C++ have not since improved on this considerably.

    • Re: Good Presentation.

      by Sara Jay,

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      Thanks Tero for sharing your opinion. I do know that there are implementations of OpenGL and 3d engines in particular. Irrlicht is a popular 3d engine written in Java.

      Just that new games and the next generation titles are all developed in C++/Visual C++ and we have just benchmarked more than decade old games (talking about Quake) written in Java.

      The gaming industry is just not accepting Java as a game development platform, albeit for some applet and Swing games based on Java 2d.

      Sun should research on this and put in 3d graphics experts to bring out a version of Java that is highly tuned for 3d performance on the latest graphics cards and dual core processors.

      Just the idea of upgrading your VM and squeezing out more frames per second on current hardware excites me a lot.

      I think we have nailed the enterprise and the client side, I guess Sun can make a ton more money developing a JDK for game development and letting the hardware low level details such as handling a wide range of processors and graphics cards sink into the JVM, so that the game programmers can concentrate on higher order graphics eye candy effects and the AI for example.

      This might be totally a brand new research project and fun to develop, rather than taking open source implementations such as Xalan, Xerces,etc. and trying to fold them back into the mothership - Java and thus making the JVM and the JDK much bigger than it ever has been.

      I know there are lot of governance problems such as using the JCP to do this and probably we dont have gaming expertise in the JCP currently, but its certainly worth a try.

    • Impressed

      by Alan Williamson,

      Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

      I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation, haven't seen James talk for a long time.

      One of the questions I would have asked; "knowing what you know today about all the applications that Java has been pushed to (server, embedded, plugins, mobile etc), if you could travel back in time and leave yourself a tip/note what would it be?"

      Also impressed at the UI here; love the fact the slides are changing in real time with video. Very slick.


Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p


Is your profile up-to-date? Please take a moment to review and update.

Note: If updating/changing your email, a validation request will be sent

Company name:
Company role:
Company size:
You will be sent an email to validate the new email address. This pop-up will close itself in a few moments.