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Fast Free Eclipse Prize

Dear gcc and gcj hackers,

I am very pleased to announce that a team of gcj hackers won
the Fast Free Eclipse prize. Although this is mainly a breakthrough
for gcj, which can now be used for large serious application
development. I want to thank all the gcc hackers for creating a
framework that allows the "radically traditional" approach of gcj
to produce such great results.



*) Radically traditional comes from an article by Per Bothner in which
he explains that gcj basically sees java as just another language that
needs to be compiled:

   gcj Eclipse team wins Fast Free Eclipse Prize

Andrew Haley and Tom Tromey led a team of gcj (GNU Compiler for Java)
hackers at Red Hat who won the Fast Free Eclipse prize. The Fast Free
Eclipse challenge was to produce a free and fast version of the
Eclipse development environment that would run on a completely Free
Software system like GNU/Linux. Tom and Andrew not only accomplished
all the goals of the original challenge, but they went far beyond that
to produce the fasted Eclipse based development environment to
date. This accomplishment means that the Free Software movement now
has another high productivity environment for creating software that
can be freely used, modified and distributed.

The Eclipse platform is a graphical IDE for anything and nothing in
particular. It supports creating highly integrated tools (plugins) for
development activities such as code management, source code viewing,
editing, refactoring and debugging. Eclipse itself is written in the
java programming language and is most famous for its excellent tools
for manipulation of large projects. Eclipse is distributed under a
Free Software license (the Common Public License) and its development
is organized as a Open Source project where both individuals and large
companies share their development efforts.

Despite being distributed under a Free Software license, Eclipse
didn't work on a free software platform or (like other projects
developed for a java like environment) integrate very well with a
traditional GNU system. So the original challenge to win the Fast Free
Eclipse prize was just to get Eclipse to start up under one minute on a
completely free system given some standard hardware. Late last year
this seemed a lot of work given the modest goal of just getting it to
run quickly enough to be usable.

But Andrew and Tom went much further than that. By consistently
identifying and fixing issues with the runtime libraries, the
compiler, linker and the gcc C++/java ABI they made the GNU Compiler
Collection and the GNU/Linux platform a better environment to develop
and run such huge multi component systems. This enables developers to
create programs in a programming language with support for static
typing, exception handling, garbage collection, multi-threading and
dynamic object creation and invocation. All while keeping the
traditional GNU way in mind to make it possible to easily interoperate
with other languages and libraries supported on a GNU system.

The result is not just a Fast Free Eclipse.
We now have the fastest Eclipse on the planet!

This effort was clearly not possible without the support of a lot of
other hackers. For the purpose of winning this prize special mention
should also be given to the following Red Hat people: Anthony Green
made an important garbage collection fix. Graydon Hoare did lots of
profiling and identified critical performance bottlenecks. And Jakub
Jelinek fixed the most critical performance bottleneck.  Together with
Tom and Andrew they are the winners of the Fast Free Eclipse prize and
they will receive a GNU appreciation package.


GNU Compiler for Java (gcj)

Eclipse, universal tool platform - an open extensible IDE

Natively compiled Eclipse

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