abandon all U-types, welcome to L-world (or, what I learned in Burlington)

Remi Forax forax at univ-mlv.fr
Wed Nov 22 20:06:01 UTC 2017

> De: "John Rose" <john.r.rose at oracle.com>
> À: "Brian Goetz" <Brian.Goetz at oracle.com>
> Cc: "valhalla-spec-experts" <valhalla-spec-experts at openjdk.java.net>
> Envoyé: Mercredi 22 Novembre 2017 19:48:18
> Objet: Re: abandon all U-types, welcome to L-world (or, what I learned in
> Burlington)

> On Nov 22, 2017, at 5:48 AM, Brian Goetz < [ mailto:Brian.Goetz at Oracle.COM |
> Brian.Goetz at Oracle.COM ] > wrote:

>> What's the L-world story for array subtyping? For any R-type, R[] <: Object[].
>> If everything is an L type and everything is <: Object, are arrays of
>> Q-types/primitives also subtypes of Object[]?

>> We didn't have a story for this in QU-world either, but at least in QU-world it
>> was believable that QFoo[] <! Object[]. But that seems much less tenable when
>> there's no syntactic difference between L-uses and Q-uses. (And even less so
>> when we might migrate code from L to Q.)

> We were just talking about this in the concall with IBM.

> Field and array-element flattening are the two places where
> the Q/R distinction provides a crucial hint that flattening
> *may* (not always *must*) occur. This hint is crucial because
> it is statically visible *before* all class files are loaded.

> The instance layout algorithm and the verifier both need
> to run before all class files are loaded (because of
> circularities, also performance). In U-world, the
> letter 'Q' in a static descriptor tells the instance layout
> generator to load the field class and extract sub-layout.
> It also tells the verifier not to assume a covariantly
> compatible layout relative to the type Object[].

> If we don't keep a few Q's around for old times'
> sake, we will need to signal these subtle difference
> some other way, with an ACC_FLATTENABLE
> bit on fields and a special "[@" syntax variant
> (pick your letter, maybe "Q") for array descriptors.

> I think of this as the "residual Q problem", of
> finding offices for the few remaining occurrences
> of Q that do real work in L-world.

> (The user-visible distinction of flat vs. legacy
> arrays was one influence that led us towards
> user-visible box types. I'd like to resist that this
> time around. Perhaps "[@" is a syntax that is
> mutually exclusive with plain "[". And there is
> a showdown when such an array is created,
> so that the descriptor has a "@" if and only if
> the loaded element type is in fact a Q-type.
> It's a move that of class loader constraints.)

<bikeshedding on> 

in that case, i prefer '{' instead of '@', the angle square bracket is the classical bracket and the curly brace is the fancy bracket. 


and with my ASM hat, introducing '{' in the ASM code is far easier than introducing 'Q'. 

> I am not opposed to allowing the existing Q-syntax
> for descriptors, in a limited number of places, to
> solve those residual problems. That thought leads
> me to try on the idea (which Remi discourages)
> that perhaps Q-narrowings of some method
> descriptors are useful (requiring bridges just
> like today's generics). A Q-narrowing of a
> class means: No nulls here, identity is not
> observable, and value-based semantics are
> in force, including unmodifiability. Not a bad
> set of guarantees; maybe that's a job for Q's
> rather than an invisible type profile.

for the record, i'm against because unlike generics where you have to introduce bridge when you actually use generics, here you have to introduce bridges in an already existing code. 

> BTW, an Ljava/util/List; would not pass through
> a Qjava/util/List; descriptor, unless List.copyOf
> were applied to it first. The VM and java.base
> can conspire to provide a curated set of Q-able
> types with enforced value or value-based behavior.

> — John


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