Fwd: An undefined behavior w.r.t. <clinit>

Yuting Chen chenyt.cs.sjtu at gmail.com
Fri Jul 10 21:32:24 UTC 2015

>>Reported to jls-jvms-spec-comments, and so far no response.
>>Thus I report the problem here again.

Hello, I recently feel puzzling about the JVM behaviors when an
illegal <clinit> is met. The specification may not be complete in this

In the specification (jvms-2.9, se8), we have the words: "In a class
file whose version number is 51.0 or above, the method must
additionally have its ACC_STATIC flag (§4.6) set in order to be the
class or interface initialization method."

However, the behavior is undefined if the ACC_STATIC flag is not set.
Thus when a class without an ACC_STATIC flag may either be accepted or
be rejected, depending on the JVM developers. The results can be

I checked this by running a class on OpenJDK8-HotSpot and IBM J9, and
found different results. The class can be run on HotSpot without
triggering any exceptions (i.e., <clinit> is of no consequence).
However, IBM J9 can throw out a FormatError (Exception in thread
"main" java.lang.ClassFormatError: JVMCFRE074 no Code attribute
specified; class=M1436188543, method=<clinit>()V, pc=0). I checked the
specification and still could not decide which JVM behaves correctly.

(I thought the question again, and believed that it can be better if
HotSpot can also report a ClassFormatError.)

The class is attached, and the decompiled code is given next:

class M1436188543
  minor version: 0
  major version: 51
  flags: ACC_SUPER
Constant pool:
   #1 = Utf8               java/lang/Object
   #2 = Utf8               <clinit>
   #3 = Utf8               SourceFile
   #4 = Utf8               M1436188543
   #5 = Utf8               main
   #6 = Class              #4             // M1436188543
   #7 = Utf8               Code
   #8 = Utf8               ([Ljava/lang/String;)V
   #9 = Utf8               ()V
  #10 = Utf8               Jasmin
  #11 = Class              #1             // java/lang/Object
  public abstract {};
    descriptor: ()V

  public static void main(java.lang.String[]);
    descriptor: ([Ljava/lang/String;)V
      stack=0, locals=1, args_size=1
         0: return

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