RFR 9: 8165641 : Deprecate Object.finalize

Hans Boehm hboehm at google.com
Tue Mar 14 21:02:01 UTC 2017

If we're going to keep runFinalization(), could we please document clearly
whether it may block indefinitely or not? It seems to me that the answer to
this question fundamentally determines the usage model. If not, I can call
runFinalization() (and possibly gc()) from a library when I'm out of
resources managed by finalizers. But runFinalization() is really only a
hint that needs to be careful about blocking. If yes, then
runFinalization() is likely to deadlock if I call it from any setting in
which I hold a lock, and this kind of usage is unsafe, unless I run it in a
separate thread, and refuse to wait for it indefinitely. I can't decide
whether the current javadoc says "yes" or "no", making any usage suspect.
"No" is probably a more useful answer, but any clear answer seems like it
would be a major improvement.

On Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 1:13 PM, Mandy Chung <mandy.chung at oracle.com> wrote:

> > On Mar 14, 2017, at 10:37 AM, Stuart Marks <stuart.marks at oracle.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > Tagir Valeev asked on Twitter whether System.runFinalization() and
> Runtime.runFinalization() should also be deprecated. The obvious answer is
> "yes" since we're deprecating finalization, but maybe it's not so obvious.
> >
> > One view is that we're not deprecating the entire finalization
> mechanism, we're simply deprecating Object.finalize() and its overrides.
> The point of doing this is to encourage code to migrate away from these
> methods. Code that calls runFinalization() can't rely on it having many
> semantics, so such calls are harmless. (Well, mostly harmless.) Encouraging
> migration away from runFinalization() thus isn't necessary.
> >
> I agree deprecating runFinalization() isn’t necessary in this proposed
> patch.  Deprecating Object.finalize would encourage existing code to
> migrate away from finalizers as well as discourage new code to add any new
> finalizer.
> > Another point is that "finalization" in a generic sense can be applied
> to reference processing, not just calls to the finalize() method.
> Hmm..  I am not sure what this exactly means here.  But there would be lot
> to figure out what happens next and what baby steps to take.
> > Offhand I'm not sure what runFinalization() does today, but perhaps in
> the future it could be modified to have stronger semantics regarding
> reference processing -- which is one of the big unresolved issues in this
> area.
> >
> I don’t know about this.  Certainly it would be something to look into.
> Mandy
> > What do you think?
> >
> > s'marks
> >
> > On 3/10/17 1:40 PM, Roger Riggs wrote:
> >> Finalizers are inherently problematic and their use can lead to
> performance issues,
> >> deadlocks, hangs, and other problematic behavior.
> >>
> >> The problems have been accumulating for many years and the first step to
> >> deprecate Object.finalize and the overrides in the JDK to communicate
> the
> >> issues, recommend alternatives, and motivate changes where finalization
> is
> >> currently used.
> >>
> >> The behavior of finalization nor any uses of finalize are not modified
> by this
> >> change.
> >> Most of the changes are to suppress compilation warnings within the JDK.
> >>
> >> Please review and comment.
> >>
> >> Webrev:
> >> http://cr.openjdk.java.net/~rriggs/webrev-finalize-deprecate-8165641/
> >>
> >> Issue:
> >>   https://bugs.openjdk.java.net/browse/JDK-8165641
> >>
> >> Thanks, Roger
> >>
> >>

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