Re: Linux for JavaVM

David A Rusling (
Tue, 07 Jan 1997 09:55:39 +0000

> Has anyone considered the possibility of porting linux to the JavaVM? I
> expect that it would run slowly on PC and server little purpose (other
> then running linux in linux in linux)... But maby it could make linux a
> viable OS for net pcs.... Does anyone know if the JavaVM is robust enough
> for this? (is there an MMU and all that) or is it dumbed down and not an
> emulation of something like RealHardware(tm)..

I cannot see any value in porting Linux to run within a Java VM. Most of
the things that Java VM give you are not enough. You rightly point out
memory management. As for Linux being a viable OS for network PCs, you
would be better off porting the VM to Linux (as in into the Linux Kernel)
and running Java apps in it. Linux is running on StrongARM which is one
of the Network PCs chosen by Oracle and supported by Sun.

> On another note: I see to recall a long time back an argument in one of
> the comp.os (minix I think) newsgroups where someone told people not to do
> work on linux (I think this was around 0.12 or so) because 'Monolithic
> kernel design is antiquated' and that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to port linux
> to other archs so we would never see it on anything but ix86.... :) lets
> see ... Hmmm....
> $cd /usr/src/linux/arch
> $echo *
> alpha i386 m68k mips ppc sparc sparc64
> Hmm.. That looks like more then 1.. hehe.. Anyone have a copy of those
> newsgroup postings? Anyone know who other party in argument was?
> On a third note, is there any work being done on a binary emulatory..
> Something of the sort so that a i386 linux bin could be run on an alpha??
> I dont have an alpha so it's not very important to me.. But I have seen
> quite a few bin-only packages without bins for alpha.. PLEASE no religion
> wars over nosource software and Yes, I know that you can cross compile..
> This would be unnessassary in a IdealWorld(tm), but in this world we've
> got people who should be running W95 (yes, it has it's place however low
> it may be) trying to run linux..... An i386emu for the alpha would prob be
> helpful even if it was slow.. (Am I wrong or is there no netscape bin for
> the alpha?) Is netscape 4.0 going to be realesed for linux at all.. Their
> webpage states the unix versions would be out later.. But I've heard
> rumors of no NS4 for linux at all.. I emailed netscape a few weeks ago but
> got no responce...

Netscape make their Linux images out of the goodness of their hearts and they
do not have an AXP, so there are no AXP Netscape images available. You can
run the Digital Unix Netscape on AXP Linux only by using Digital Unix libraries
and, of course, you have to pay for those. On a more general note, I think
that Linux (and all free software) has to move out of the "tools to make
tools" mode and concentrate on applications. There is nothing to stop someone
writing something that is as good, if not better, than Netscape or Microsoft
Explorer for X or a state of the art WYSIWYG word package.

Cross compilation has not really worked since the early (32 bit) days of the
port. We *had* to have it then. Once bash was running we quickly didn't
need it. Having AXP native ports is the best answer and that only comes
with market volume. PowerPC (and all non-Intel ports) have the same problem.

As for emulation, I've heard that BOSCH (or somesuch sounding name) runs
very well on AXP Linux.

David A Rusling Principal Engineer
European Semiconductor Applications Digital Equipment Co Ltd.,
Engineering PO Box 121,
Imperial Way,
Worton Grange
Reading RG2 0TU
Linux, Alpha, StrongArm, PCI Tel: UK-(0)1734-204380
Fax: UK-(0)1734-203133