Fwd: Fwd: Proposal for generics over primitives needs a rethink

Gavin King gavin at hibernate.org
Fri Jan 2 18:13:50 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 6:37 PM, Brian Goetz <brian.goetz at oracle.com> wrote:
>> All I'm asking for is a concrete explanation
> This all sounds very reasonable, except that it's not actually all that
> reasonable at all.

To be clear: you're saying that it's not reasonable to ask for an
explanation of why the most obvious and apparently natural way to
evolve the type system of Java to support abstraction of generic types
over primitives is not feasible?

>> - If you do, then please share it with us, because it's missing from
>> the paper which I and others have taken the time to read and
>> understand and evaluate.
> We have to divide our time between exploring, implementing, and
> communicating.  The demand for communication is infinite, as you've so ably
> demonstrated; if we provided all the communication that was demanded,
> there'd be no time left for doing, and we'd all lose.  So, I'm sorry if my
> explanation seems inadequate to you.  Perhaps you could look at it as half
> full rather than half empty: you got quite a bit of attention, you got your
> idea heard, you got confirmation that these ideas had been seriously
> examined before, and you got some explanation -- all at the time basically
> of your choosing.  That's a lot; sorry if its not enough for you.

Brian, this is one of the most astonishing statements I've seen from a
spec lead all the time I've been involved in the JCP.

I did not come here seeking attention; I did not come here seeking
unverifiable assertions unaccompanied by evidence; I did not come here
seeking personal attacks on my "attitude". I came here with what
seemed to me a useful and concrete bit of feedback about a document
you had published, apparently, at least it seemed to me, with the
purpose of soliciting response from the community.

I therefore feel entitled to ask again: what is the technical reason
that my suggestion is unfeasible. If you can just answer this question
for me, then we can move on from this frankly farcical discussion to
something much more productive.

>> - Otherwise, if you don't have any such explanation, then there's
>> something missing here, and it seems to be that Any should be back on
>> the table for consideration.
> The bar for "idea should be on the table" is not "Gavin thinks it is good
> enough."  For that matter, I'm not even sure what it means to be "on the
> table" (or whether this idea is, or isn't on the table, or even where the
> table is.)

Again, your responses to my technical suggestions and questions are
personal criticisms of me. I don't understand where that's coming from
or what's motivating you to treat me like this.

FTR: we've never interacted before; my messages in this thread have
been expressed in a measured tone; I've never once criticized you
personally, nor your work on Java SE, not even in private; I'm one of
the folks out here in the Java community who often defends Java in
public forums; I've made significant contributions to several JSRs;
I'm an Oracle Java Champion, and was a JCP star spec lead; I lead a
project that develops one of the prominent alternative languages for
the JVM; I work for a company which is a Java licensee and which
contributes to Open JDK. There should therefore be no question that my
motivations here are well-intentioned and constructive.

But even if none of the above were true, just like any other member of
the Java community, I have a right to a respectful response to my
questions. I honestly have not a clue what could be motivating you to
try and brush me off like this.

So, can we just drop this whole subthread, do a full reset here, and
get back to the much more interesting technical issues, *please*?
Because I think this is potentially a really great opportunity to make
Java better, and I want to be convinced it's being done the Right Way.

> But we've discussed it and considered it to no small degree, and
> will probably consider it some more.  I think that's all the table-hood you
> can reasonable ask for.

I think I can quite reasonably request that this issue be discussed
here, in public. That's what being "open" is about.

Gavin King
gavin.king at gmail.com

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