RFR: 8172048: Re-examine use of AtomicReference in java.security.Policy

Peter Levart peter.levart at gmail.com
Wed Dec 28 00:07:05 UTC 2016

Hi Claes,

A nice find! This is certainly a straightforward and low-risk fix for 
breaking the initialization cycle problem with JDK-8062389.

Related to VarHandles, the call trace of the initialization cycle also 
includes the following part of code in VarHandle:

         AccessMode(final String methodName, AccessType at) {
             this.methodName = methodName;
             this.at = at;

             // Assert that return type is correct
             // Otherwise, when disabled avoid using reflection
             assert at.returnType == getReturnType(methodName);


         private static Class<?> getReturnType(String name) {
             try {
                 Method m = VarHandle.class.getMethod(name, Object[].class);
                 return m.getReturnType();
             catch (Exception e) {
                 throw newInternalError(e);

... where enabling assertions (tests enable assertions) causes the 
initialization of VarHandle(s) to involve reflection. This is also a 
place that could be made more robust, perhaps by devising a special test 
that verifies method return types, instead of embedding the check into 
the AccessMode constructor...

Regards, Peter

On 12/27/2016 03:04 PM, Claes Redestad wrote:
> Hi,
> since java.util.concurrent.AtomicReference was changed to use a
> VarHandle internally, using it from within the security libraries can
> lead to hard to diagnose bootstrap cycles (since VarHandles has to do
> doPrivileged calls during setup). The need to initialize VarHandles is
> also cause for a small startup regression for any application run with
> a security manager.
> The use of AtomicReference in java.security.Policy is not really
> motivated, though, since only the .get/.set methods are used, thus a
> rather straight-forward fix is to convert the code to use a volatile
> reference instead with identical semantics:
> Bug: https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8172048
> Webrev: http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~redestad/8172048/webrev.01/
> While a rather insignificant startup improvement in and off itself,
> this would help to unblock the attempted fix to resolve
> https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8062389
> Thanks!
> /Claes

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