RFR 9: 8138696 : java.lang.ref.Cleaner - an easy to use alternative to finalization

Roger Riggs Roger.Riggs at Oracle.com
Tue Oct 13 13:56:03 UTC 2015

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the review and comments.

On 10/12/2015 3:30 PM, mark.reinhold at oracle.com wrote:
> 2015/10/8 1:41 -0700, roger.riggs at oracle.com:
>> Webrev:
>> http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~rriggs/webrev-cleaner-extensible-8138696/
>> javadoc:
>>      http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~rriggs/cleaner-doc2/
> Roger -- thanks for taking this on.  The more we can do to get people
> to stop using sun.misc APIs, the better.
> A couple of comments/questions:
> First, I think the approach in your first version is, well, cleaner.
> The additional abstract classes in the second version look like a
> classic case of implementation inheritance that's not subtype
> inheritance, what with the overrides of the original enqueue and
> isEnqueued methods to throw UnsupportedOperationException.

The simple use is preferred for most uses and is present using only the 

Collapsing into a single instance provided some benefits in the size 
too, fewer object
headers and references between them.

It seemed safer for evolutionary purposes to expose only the necessary 
functions and hide or disable the rest.
> I understand the desire to avoid allocating too many objects, but
> do we have actual use cases where that's critical?  The original
> sun.misc.Cleaner has been used by both internal and external code
> to do relatively heavy-weight things like unmap direct buffers and
> release other kinds of native resources, which suggests that
> allocating three small objects per cleaner is not a problem.
The reduction in the number of objects was an opportunity to look 
closely at what
was needed and the use cases where it would be applied.
Peter's email gives a few detailed cases where this would be used.

When considering how to update the existing classes with finalize 
methods, it became clear that
refactoring would be needed to separate out the state needed for the 
cleanup from public object
that was being finalized into a separate object it would provide the 
cleanup behavior as well.
In simple cases, it is just a copy of the native address or file 
descriptor.  In other cases, like
FileIn/OutputStream it is references to other objects.  In cases like 
FileDescriptor and Zip streams
the cleanup state is not just a native resource.

The abstract XXXCleanup types make it easy to encapsulate the needed 
behavior and state.
> Second, the original sun.misc.Cleaner only handles phantom references.
> What are the use cases for weak and soft cleaners?
WeakReferences are sometimes used but since it is extra coding to clean 
them it tends
not to be implemented.
For example, sun.beans.WeakCache; it was just not worth the code to 
handle the weak refs completely.

In another case, the ldap connection pool only cleans up connections 
when opening
a new pooled connection.

Having easy to use and more active cleanup would release resources 
sooner and
reduce overall resource requirements.

> Finally, how important is it to be able to unregister a cleaner?  In
> all the years we've had sun.misc.Cleaner that capability has never
> been needed, and leaving it out would simplify the API.
Recently there was a long discussion on core-libs [1] about making the 
cleanup of MappedByteBuffers
more timely to free up the memory sooner.  If there was an explicit 
release operation on
either of those, then the cleaner would want to be unregistered or it 
would need to be at-most-once.

Encapsulating the cleanup state and behavior allows it to be invoked 
consistently both when the
object is closed or is found to be unreachable.  The cleanup code is not 
repeated, and it is
easy to ensure that is invoked at most once.

The other important aspect is that when the cleanup is performed 
explicitly (on close)
the ref is cleared and the overhead associated with reference processing 
is eliminated.
Currently, with finalizers, the finalizable refs still have to be 
processed, even if object has been closed.

Thanks, Roger


> - Mark

More information about the core-libs-dev mailing list