java.lang.Thread.contextClassLoader : what if it were a weak reference ?

Sylvain Laurent sylvain.laurent at
Sun Mar 22 22:23:32 UTC 2009

Hello all,

I'm tracking classloader leaks more or less as a hobby and found out  
that one of the (many) source of leaks come from threads that still  
have a reference to a classloader through their contextClassLoader  
instance variable.

So, I'm wondering : what if instead of "private ClassLoader  
contextClassLoader;" we had "private WeakReference<ClassLoader>  
contextClassLoaderRef" and the method getContextClassLoader would more  
or less returned contextClassLoaderRef.get() ?

Would it break many things ? is it incompatible with the specs ?

I'm very interested to read your opinion on this...

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