Feeds

IBM, Sun, Microsoft sink differences on VMs

Anything for scripting

Boost IT visibility and business value

Corporate rivals have temporarily sunk their differences to find ways to fine-tune the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) to a variety of popular dynamic languages.

Language experts from IBM, Microsoft, and others have converged on Sun Microsystems' Santa Clara campus for a three-day workshop to find ways of delivering Java-like performance for Ruby, Python, PHP, and Scala on the VM that drives Sun's platform.

Among those heading to Sun's offices were computer languages expert and Microsoft architect Erik Meijer - who helped create the Language Integrated Query (LINQ) and Microsoft's experimental Volta tools language - and representatives from IBM's Project Zero putting PHP on a JVM.

Also, there were Sun's JRuby lead Charlie Nutter and John Rose, leading a Sun effort called the Da Vinci Machine building extensions to run non-Java languages on the VM with a similar level of performance as Java.

Sun's director of web technologies and XML co-founder Tim Bray attributed the outbreak of entente cordial to a belief that life will be easier in app dev if there are fewer VMs to target. Among the topics on the table at last week's meeting: method dispatching

IBM and Sun have at a corporate level spent years tussling over who's the big dog in Java. Microsoft, meanwhile, has attempted to emulate Sun's Java VM with .NET and the accompanying Common Language Runtime (CLR) - it's implementation of the Microsoft-driven Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) standard.

Aside from some "good-natured joshing," there'd been a "good, collegiate atmosphere at the summit," Bray said.

"There's a widespread perception among the leading lights of the developer community that there's a huge upside if you can reduce the number of VMs to be smaller than the number of languages," Bray told The Reg. "I think the feeling is the upside for the whole business is so big it kind of transcends the normal competitive realities of the marketplace."

Bray reckoned that while Sun's Java language has gone out of fashion in recent years, the VM holds great interest for a new generation of emerging languages, because of its performance and access to a large number of APIs and libraries already widely used across the computing landscape.

"Just because people would like to write code in Rails rather than Java, are they going to walk away from Java? No, that's a ridiculous idea," Bray said.

Bray expects new, non-language specific VMs to emerge from the work around dynamic-language performance and the JVM, and take their place alongside Sun's VM and Microsoft's CLR and CLI. He pegged talk of a VM for Perl and work around Parrot as holding potential. "I'd be astounded if one or two [other VMs] didn't emerge," Bray said. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.