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To: Gentoo Java <gentoo-java@g.o>
From: Joshua Nichols <nichoj@g.o>
Subject: Java ideas for Summer of Code
Date: Thu, 04 May 2006 13:20:14 -0400
(The following is shamelessly yanked from the blog post I just made)

As has been previously announced, we are officially part of Google's 
Summer of Code. I've decided to step up to be a mentor, and in 
particular, to mentor projects related to Java on Linux.

A few ideas follow. The 1a and 1b are listed already on our SoC page to 
an extent, but the idea is elaborated further here. If you plan on 
proposing one of these ideas, I really would expect you to even further 
elaborate.

*1a)*
/Summary:/

Build most of our Java packages with free (libre) virtual machines and 
free implementations of public APIs.

/Background:/

Currently, we really only support using a proprietary virtual machine 
(ie sun, blackdown, ibm, etc), because packages are likely to fail for 
various reason with the open ones.

For many open apis, such as javamail, java activation framework, etc, we 
have binary packages of Sun's proprietary implementations. In a number 
of cases, there are open implementations. However, our packages compile 
against and run using the proprietary implementations.

For reasons why one would want to be using Free Java, see the article on 
the Java trap <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/java-trap.html>.

As for a practical reason, use of proprietary packages from Sun and IBM 
can annoying for the end user, because in both cases, it requires 
placing a fetch restriction on the distfiles. To the end user, this 
means that an emerge gets halted until they agree to a license, and 
download the files.

/Goals:/

    * Build/run all/most packages using free virtual machines
    * Build/run all/most packages against free implementations of public
      APIs
    * Might want to target specific big name packages, like eclipse,
      azureus, tomcat.
    * Be able to select between different implementations of the same apis

/Tasks:/

    * Work with upstream of packages that use propertary classes from
      the virtual machine (ie com.sun.*, sun.*)
    * Work with upstream of virtual machines and packages when packages
      don't compile or run with using free java
    * Find and package open implementations of public APIs

/Hurdles:/

    * Lots of Java packages (300+). It is unknown how many will need to
      be patched.
    * Upstream might not care about free java
    * Might not be open implementations of all APIs

*1b)*

/Summary:/
Native compiling with gcj

/Background:/

GNU Compiler for Java (gcj) allows for compiling Java code to native 
machine code, as opposed to Java bytecode. Fedora/Redhat has done this 
to an extent for some time. It'd be great to be able to do this under 
Gentoo as well.

/Tasks:/

    * Create a 'JDK' which uses gcj as a backend. In this case, JDK
      really means providing a javac, javadoc, jar, etc
    * Have a way of keeping track of native bytecode
    * Integrate methods for native compiling into the current build
      system for building Java packages on Gentoo (ie eclasses)
    * Target native compilation of high profile applications, ie azreus,
      eclipse, freemind

*2a)*

/Summary:/

Build maven <http://maven.apache.org> entirely from source.

/Background:/

We currently only provide binary packages of maven, due to the fact that 
it is a bootstrapping nightmare because of the monolithic nature of the 
build process. The build system, at its basic level, does the following:

    * Build the 'core' maven functionailty using ant
    * Build the 'core' maven functionality using maven
    * Build all the plugins using maven

The problem with building all the plugins at once is that there are a 
ton of plugins, with many, many dependencies. Because of these 
dependencies, it would make it impractical to have a monolithic package, 
which would be used to build other packages.

/Goals:/

    * Have modular packages for maven
    * Have one package per plugin
    * Have a 'core' maven package
    * Have a 'minimal' maven package, which is core + minimal packages
      for compiling, javadocs, and jarring
    * Have a 'full' maven package which is all the plugins
    * Would need to work out a way to make the build much more modular

*2b)*

/Summary/
Build packages using maven

/Background/
Many packages, particular Apache projects, have been switching over

The main issue is getting jars from a maven repository. The normal 
behavior of maven is to download dependencies from a maven mirror. First
of all, things at build time should not be using the network. Secondly, 
dependencies should be provided by jars from packages that have 
previously been emerged.

Another issue is that maven 2 repositories contain metadata 
(specifically, pom.xml files) about the packages contained within. This 
is normally fetched from the repository, but since we don't want to be 
pulling from there, the question remains open as to where the metadata 
is gotten from and how its stored on the system.

/Goals:/

    * Have a system to have maven use jars that we have built through
      portage
    * Update packages to use maven when possible. These should have fine
      grain control to the plugins that are available at build time.
      Packages should depend on the minimal install, and whatever extra
      plugins they might need, and only those should be available at
      build time.

/Possible solutions for dealing with maven repositories:/
A) Create a maven-repository like structure, and have it populated with 
jars from the system
B) maven (2.0 at least) has a mechanism for providing alternative ways 
of fetching dependencies. We could then create an alternative way that's 
backed by portage.
C) Find a way to tell maven not to fetch dependencies, and hope that 
there are the appropriate classes available on the classpath
-- 
gentoo-java@g.o mailing list


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Re: Java ideas for Summer of Code
-- Gerry Smith
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