Goodbye Cacao ...

As some of you might have heard (or deduced from my lack of activity), I have left Cacao. This is not a decision I took lightly, hence it took me some time to make it official by the means of this post.

I started my work on Cacao in 2005 with my first project being the ARM port of the code generator, which turned out to be my bachelor thesis and hooked me up with Cacao. I continued to actively contribute to the development of Cacao and tried to help push it towards being a real Java Virtual Machine. Since then a lot has changed in Cacao. I have learned a lot from all the contributors, former maintainers and other people I worked with and for that I am very grateful.

One of my most recent endeavors (also happening to be my diploma thesis) was to prepare Cacao to cope with exact garbage collection, a topic which was neglected for too long in Cacao. A project that big requires a lot of infrastructure. Once you want do the cool stuff you realize that more and more of those tiny bits and pieces are missing. Nevertheless you still want to do all the really cool stuff, to be able to compete with others out there. The essence of that is, that it’s just too much work for a single person to effectively push forward the development of a mature JVM like Cacao in time.

The future has a natural tendency to resist prediction, so I don’t even try to make any for Cacao. But what I can say is that there are two people taking over maintenance of the code, namely David Flamme and Stefan Ring, both being capable and motivated to do that.

However, I don’t want to leave Cacao without a vision. During my time at Theobroma Systems I learned a lot about microkernels on embedded systems and picked up some of the enthusiasm about them from my former colleagues there. In my opinion, portability is what microkernel-based operating systems are really missing and a JVM might provide. To be sufficiently efficient, that VM needs to run directly on top of the hypervisor instead of being throttled by several compatibility layers. At first it would only be some kind of Micro Edition (if at all), but with some effort Cacao might be able to pull this off.

As for myself, I am looking forward to whatever the future may hold for me, and will keep you posted …

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