FOSDEM


Still haven’t got round to looking at the stuff I captured at FOSDEM, and surprisingly it’s already over a week ago — how time flies. There are a few pictures, but I left most of this to Mario and Steph as they were much more well prepared and equipped than I. What I do have is video of the Runtime Rumble and a couple of the Sun talks (IIRC). I need to work out where I can dump multigigabytes worth of DV before anything else; I took two tapes full in all.

What’s been occupying my thoughts so far this week is the imminent start of Google’s Summer of Code for 2007. It starts quite a bit earlier this year (student deadline of March 24th), and with all the Sun kerfuffle, it’s a little more difficult to choose a project than I expected at the end of last year’s SoC. I don’t want to put in a proposal for something that might get shipwrecked by any imminent arrivals of Free Sun code…

I raised the matter on #classpath today, and got some good feedback. There are plenty of tasks on underlying stuff (rather than APIs) that I could tackle. Also, Ian Rogers from Jikes RVM and Tom Marble (Sun’s OpenJDK ambassador) mentioned that their respective projects may be acting as mentoring organisations, so there seems to be plenty of choice. Unfortunately, I can’t really make any firm decisions until the organisations are decided, which is the same time as student proposals open. Just have to be prepared I guess…

Just got back from FOSDEM 2007 in Brussels; it was really nice to meet you all and put some faces to all those nicks I’ve seen on IRC. I see Steph already put up some great pictures from the event, and that Simon’s keynote is on-line as well. I have a few things on my own camera as well, that I’ll hopefully get round to pulling off too later.

The main subject of this blog is something I wanted to post about before I left, but didn’t get chance (I really should update this thing more often– it seems I’ve had over 1000 horrible spam messages since I last played with it). It seems the Fedora team are heading for Core 7 fairly soon, and only realised recently that this will include the new gcj with 1.5 support; great news :) Or it least it would be if this didn’t mean those guys ended up being the first ones to take the thing public, and thus found bugs that had been lurking on the generics branch for a while…

It also sees some of my management work going out in a release, which I wasn’t expecting until Classpath 0.94. Some of it really needs more testing, and this means it ended up getting dumped on the Fedora team… whoops. My apologies and thanks to them for this, and in particular, Gary Benson, who has found and patched a number of bugs in that code while trying to get it working with Tomcat.

The most strangest of these highlights an interesting issue with Java’s typing. If you pass a character to a method, and it turns out that there isn’t a version of the method that accepts a character, but does accept a larger integer type (such as int), then the character will be safely cast to that type by the compiler.

Some of my management code fell over this when instantiating a StringBuffer, which can’t be instantiated with a single character (strangely), but can take an integer as its initial size. So my call to new StringBuffer(‘”‘) was allocating a buffer of length 34 rather than setting up a new buffer containing the character ‘”‘. It’s an interesting issue, and it makes me wonder if this has cropped up before. It would be nice if StringBuffer got an additional constructor which does take a character in order to solve this.

Update

Mario’s pictures are now on-line as well.

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