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Tower Red Hat Linux JVM wins speed trials

IBM second and third, MS and Sun trail

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Java virtual machines, where "bragging rights rest on speed, speed, speed" according to an article in JavaWorld, have made some very significant progress in the past few months. In the latest round of tests by Volcano using their benchmarks, raw server speed shows significant improvement since May, but in most cases, stability and scalability have some way to go. JVM top honours went to Tower Technology's Tower J3.1.4 on Red Hat's Linux 6.0 Intel, which was just 1.3 per cent faster than IBM's JDK 1.1.8 on Windows NT. This in turn pipped the same JDK on OS/2 by 6.7 per cent. Microsoft's VM 3229, as it now has to call its non-standard JVM, only managed fourth place in the speed trials, so that's the end of that bragging about speed by Microsoft that punctuated the Microsoft trial. The performance of Sun's HotSpot (sixth) and JDKs (seventh and eighth) on NT were middling, but better than on Solaris or Linux. For ease of comparison, all tests were performed on 200 MHz Pentium Pros, which could in part account for Sun's results. We shall have to see whether NT continues to outperform Windows 2000 JVMs. IBM had three of the top five slots, which suggests that its massive investment in Java does at least bring some prizes. Tower has the only static compiler, which converts class files to C source code which it then compiles to a native executable program. The men and boys were sorted out however when it came to the stability and scalability tests, with only Tower and the Sun JDK 1.2.2_03 Solaris passing the 4,000 concurrent connections test. With the speed issue essentially solved, most developer attention is now on keeping machines running under varying and high loads. The poor scalability of many JVMs is put down to the difference in the threading model for Java on Linux. Sun's solution for the threads and sockets dilemma is seen to be the more promising. There is increasing pressure on Tower to offer Tower J without charge, but the problem is of course that with a commercial rather than a volunteer development, it is not easy to cover the development costs. Maybe Sun or IBM will snuggle up to Tower, but at this particular moment, it is unlikely that Microsoft would try to catch Tower's eye. ®

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