[9] RFR (S): 8157181: Compilers accept modification of final fields outside initializer methods

David Holmes david.holmes at oracle.com
Tue Jun 14 21:02:15 UTC 2016

On 15/06/2016 12:34 AM, Coleen Phillimore wrote:
> On 6/14/16 10:17 AM, Vladimir Ivanov wrote:
>>>>>> Also, have you run the JCK tests?
>>>>>> Why have a global flag if it's an error?
>>>>> We are enforcing a rule that has not been enforced before. To deal
>>>>> with
>>>>> compatibility issues we have provided, as is customary for
>>>>> non-security
>>>>> issues, a flag that allows the enforcement to be turned off, if it
>>>>> causes a problem. (Though that is more likely needed for JDK 7/8
>>>>> compatibility than for 9).
>>>> FTR I'd like to see the checks turned ON by default for 7/8 in 9 and
>>>> the
>>>> flag providing an escape hatch for compatibility purposes.
>>>> It is motivated by the desire to limit possibilities of final field
>>>> updates at runtime, so JIT-compilers have more freedom optimizing loads
>>>> from final fields. It will be unfortunate if we effectively forbid
>>>> final
>>>> field updates outside of initializers starting only from 9 (class files
>>>>> =53) and not 7 (cf >=51).
>>>> The change requires a CCC request and will be investigated separately
>>>> (JDK-8159215 [1]).
>>> Ok. JDK 7/8 code exists now and by changing the rules you may break code
>>> that was working. We can't expect that code to be fixed, but that is why
>>> we have to provide the flag to disable the check. The question is
>>> whether this will impact a large or small number of users, and whether
>>> it will impact things that can readily have the flag applied.
>> Yes, impact is what should drive the decision.
>> The plan is to have the checks (either ON or OFF by default) only in 9
>> (no backports to 7/8).
>> If the checks are ON by default, users should handle any problems
>> caused by them when migrating between major releases, which sounds
>> reasonable (if impact is low). There will be a choice to fix the
>> library/application or disable problematic checks (by setting the flag).
>>>> If there are serious compatibility issues found during EA testing, we
>>>> can turn the checks OFF by default.
>>> I doubt we will test very much that would expose this. As I understand
>>> it this only affects non-Java languages running on the JVM. (Though I
>>> supposed hand-assembled Java code could also have this.)
>> There's Quality Outreach program [1] (conducted by Adoption Group) and
>> many popular FOSS Java projects test OpenJDK 9 builds. So, the
>> projects involved should notice if the change affects them.
>>>> The flag is declared as diagnostic, so I don't think we need to go
>>>> through deprecation process (as we do for product flags) and just
>>>> remove
>>>> it in the next(?) major release.
>>> I had not looked at the code and did not know the flag was marked
>>> diagnostic - that doesn't seem right to me. This isn't about
>>> diagnostics.
>> Good point. Maybe make it product and deprecate right from the
>> beginning then?
>>> The issue with removing the flag is when you can reasonably expect any
>>> existing "bad" code will be updated. I can't judge the scope/extent of
>>> the problem - it may be trivially small, or may not.
>> Thinking about that more, I don't see much value in the flag if the
>> checks are OFF for 7-8 (cf <53) by default. If we don't enable the
>> checks in 9, I'm sure we will never change that.
>> I don't see any value in providing opt-out option for 9 (cf >=53). The
>> impact is limited: javac doesn't produce such code shape and bytecode
>> generators require a change to produce cf =53. New code should adhere
>> to JVMS in this particular case.
>> So, if we decide that enabling the checks for 7-8 is too risky, we can
>> remove the flag.
> I would vote for pre-deprecating or removing the flag.  We don't
> generally add flags for new spec enforcement unless we anticipate a lot
> of customers having problems with the new rule.  Just make sure the
> error message is really good though, so that when people hit this new
> rule, they'll know what to fix.

Okay. If this is restricted to 9 then we can drop the flag and require 
any "offenders" to become compliant if they plan to ship Java 9 version 


> Coleen
>> Best regards,
>> Vladimir Ivanov
>> [1] https://wiki.openjdk.java.net/display/quality/Quality+Outreach

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