Well, this year is trotting along quite nicely so far and there have already been some quite interesting developments. Plus it’ll soon be time for FOSDEM again! Probably the most major thing for me is the continued development of OpenJDK-related projects. After a discussion with Dalibor via IRC a couple of weeks ago, we launched a new project called BrandWeg. This is effectively the inverse of IcedTea; we take Classpath and try to patch its holes using OpenJDK as the plaster.

It’s notably different as a repository in that it contains no source code, only patches. Instead, the build downloads Classpath from CVS or a tarball, and then the requisite OpenJDK sources from either Mercurial or a tarball. At the moment, it just merges in the jaxws stack, as this is completely unimplemented in Classpath and separated in the OpenJDK. As such, it seems like it should be easy to add this in by merely putting the sources into external and linking it into the build system. Unfortunately, the code may be in different repositories but they are by no means orthogonal unfortunately. Trying to build with jaxws in there makes the build scream for mercy — among the errors, there are ones looking for a HTTP provider in com.sun (presumably tucked away in the main JDK sources) and some evil direct use of the com.sun.org.apache XML providers. So it’ll need a bit of patching before we have our first BrandWeg build.

I’ve also returned to a little work on IcePick, after doko has started trying to build native GCJ binaries from its output. Together, we found and patched a few bugs and I’ve finally implemented better wrappers for the tools. Notably, these don’t depend on the -Xbootclasspath option which I picked up from the Classpath tools but which doesn’t work with gcj, and they also handle the -J options. The wrapper is now a little bit of C code that is compiled with different defines depending on the required tool.

Feel free to check these and let me know what you think.

Finally, the last bit of news concerns OpenJDK again. Through the last year or so that we’ve been working with the new OpenJDK development, our main contact with Sun has been through Tom Marble. He’s proved to be a great guy to work with, always patient enough to listen to all our quibbles and our ongoing complaints and whines about the glacial progress of the OpenJDK community development. So, it’s with some sadness that we found out this week that he’ll be leaving Sun soon and heading off for pastures new. I hope he appreciates how much of an asset he has been to us GNU Classpath developers in our trips into the unknown world of the OpenJDK and I’d like to join with the rest of the Free Java community in thanking him for his tireless work and wishing him all the best in the future. Thanks Tom!