This year’s FOSDEM has been a great event, as every year. I’ll try to wrap up my personal highlights.


I arrived in the evening and immediately headed for the Brandweg hacking session and general gathering to the BXL. The waitresses wouldn’t let us go upstairs into our usual location, but when more and more people joined us, they had no choice but open up. I guess they were not really prepared for such an event. In the end they became really nervous that things get out of hand, so we collected money to pay the bill and leave. I went to the hotel then because I was very tired.


The keynote talks have been kindof disappointing for me. I couldn’t really relate to the Hollywood and FreeBSD stuff. The patent talk was an interesting update though.

Regarding the various talks I will only mention my personal highlights. All talks have been very cool, but I can’t cover every bit here.

Mark and Mark wrapped up what happened during the last year to GNU Classpath and OpenJDK, and where things are going. GNU Classpath ain’t dead at all,though things slowed down, and OpenJDK is moving towards 100% free software steadily.

Christian Thalinger gave an interesting overview and comparison about the different VM interfaces of GNU Classpath, phoneme and OpenJDK. Especially since I’m porting OpenJDK to Jamaica now.

I was really excited about what Guillaume showed with MIDPath. He did some really amazing work on those little devices, showing off a number of great demos.

My own talk didn’t go that well. I was suffering from a major headache at this time because I didn’t drink anything for the whole day (that always kills me). I think I spoiled the party a little by bashing OpenJDK handling of the community, which probably came around too negative. (Yes, some developers do very good work with handling the community). And to make things worse, my nice demos of OpenJDK-Swing-on-Escher and OpenJDK-Swing-on-GTK crashed because I was trying to run them on a clean OpenJDK, but they require some patches in Swing and AWT. Too bad.

Andrew picked up my own mashup things and introduced Brandweg, a project similar to IcedTea, but in the other direction. (GNU Classpath, patched with OpenJDK stuff where appropriate).

The VM rumble was great, just as last year. Robert gave a good update on JamVM (which goes into a JIT-like direction now), Kaffe collapses to a big shell script that pulls in all the pieces, Hotspot is getting better all the time, and conquering new platforms with Gary’s zero assembler hacks.

In the evening (almost) everybody gathered at the FOSDEM dinner. The food was very good, very expensive and too little for my hunger. Afterwards, a couple of people moved over into a greek(?) bar, where a small but loud YMCA party was going on. Fun, but not good for chatting. I had some nice conversations anyway, geeks are so boring ;-).


The first talk I attended on Sunday was Lillian’s and Thomas’ talk about IcedTea. They did some truly amazing stuff, turning OpenJDK into a free software JDK, and plugging the holes with GNU Classpath pieces for the API, NetX as a WebStart replacement and gcjwebplugin/IcedTeaPlugin as browser plugin. Very nice. Thomas also showed some of his work to implement LiveConnect in the IcedTeaPlugin.

The cool stuff section had some amazing projects showing off really cool stuff. Steph showed FBToolkit, a very cool project which aims to provide an alternative AWT toolkit/graphics implementation for framebuffers and other backends. Mario did a very nice presentation about his work on the GConf preferences, Classpath’s Desktop API implementation and about his GStreamer backend for javax.sound, showing off a nice rocking demonstration.  The JNode impressed me very much, despite the technical problems. A whole operating system mostly written in Java (plus some assembler for the very low level device stuff), this is really cool.

Unfortunately I missed the Jalimo talk and everything afterwards, because I had to leave to catch my train. In the train I turned all the fresh inspiration into code and completed a first prototype of the new Escher peers (aka Caciocavallo), which are based on OpenJDK’s architecture for Java2D (SunGraphics2D, SunGraphicsEnvironment, et al). I had a very very first prototype already running before FOSDEM, but this was awefully slow. Now I can already do some Swing stuff at reasonable speed. That’s really amazing (to me).


About Roman Kennke
JVM Hacker, Principal Software Engineer at Red Hat's OpenJDK team, Shenandoah GC project lead, Java Champion

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