Archive for April, 2005

gcjx milestone

gcjx can now build all of libgcj, at least if you provide it with
the correct flags. I’ve been finding compiler bugs by running a small
gcjx-compiled program and looking into the crashes.

GCC as library?

that GCC might profitably be split into parts with
well-defined APIs separating them. I think there’s little
disagreement on that point — GCC has been moving in that direction.
However, GCC’s internals aren’t really well-suited to this kind of
thing. Still, hopefully someday GCC will end up there. It won’t be
soon enough to make libjava builds bearable, though; we must find some
other solution to that problem. The plan on everybody’s lips is
splitting the library into multiple pieces; I’ll probably look into it
more seriously soon.

LLVM and Java

There’s been some work on a
JVM based on LLVM
. Diversity in the VM space is nice, but at the
moment we have too many VMs trying to inhabit the same niche. This
makes no sense. Instead, we should be looking at sharing more code,
just as we already share the class library, the test suite, and some
random other bits. There is no reason we couldn’t have a somewhat
configurable core VM, implementing things like class layout and
runtime linking, that would be shared among all VMs.

Bigger dreams aside, LLVM would have done better to simply pick an
existing VM, say kaffe, and target it. That would be simple, even.

The Interpreter

I like these action movies with slow-moving parts. This one had a
couple of flaws.. Sean Penn seemed a little flat in some ways. There
was also a section I thought was poorly edited, and in fact at first I
thought they must have put in the wrong reel. That was the low point,
and thankfully it occurred fairly early in the film. By the end the
movie had progressed from the general and unknown to the specific, and
managed to move me. This is not just a personal movie, as the
parallels to situation in the Sudan are immediate and relevant. I
recommend it.

Kung Fu Hustle

A long, long time ago I read an album review in Trouser Press or
something like that which said, “listening to this album is like
riding a shovel into a giant mound of whipped cream”. What always
struck me about this is its ambiguity, and I still think about this
review whenever I review an album or movie for a friend.

However, this is irrelevant to a review of Kung Fu Hustle, which
needs no ambiguity. This is a quirky and interesting movie, and I
enjoyed every second of it. One oddity is the similarity, to my mind,
between the Beast and the disturbingly happy killer in Sin City; when
leaving the theater I overhead someone else make a connection to Sin
City, but other than this detail I didn’t really see it. For one
thing, KFH is fun to watch.

Strangely, I saw this movie (with a complete unintelligible blurb
on the back) on the shelf in Video Station last night. Perhaps we’re
just seeing a much-delayed US theatrical release?

Back from Santa Fe

We went to Santa Fe this weekend for Elyn’s birthday, some needed
rest, and our annual green chile infusion. Despite a low-level
illness on my part this all went swimmingly. We had an awesome meal
at Pasqual’s.

While there we stayed, as usual, with Mark Galassi. In addition to
his stimulating conversation and extensive library (this time I read
Wodehouse), I find that simply being in his house inspires me to
program. I think it is because he has his Linux desktop sitting there
in the living room, and obviously uses it for Real Work; also he runs
more gnome applets than I knew existed. In this context it is
immediately obvious how useful a cool new UI hack can be.

La Dolce Vita

It is time for The
Conference on World Affairs
again, so Roger Ebert is in town doing
cinema interruptus. I never go to the interruptus parts, since I tire
easily of hearing the same people spout uninteresting comments. But,
I try to always get to the uninterrupted showing; Ebert says some
funny and interesting things and then we get to see a (usually)
interesting film. (Last year was Floating Weeds, and I’ve regretted
several times that I missed it, so this year I made a special effort.)

I hadn’t seen La Dolce Vita in a number of years. It is still as
interesting and bizarre as I found it the first time. A bit on the
long side, if one is allowed to say that about a classic.

As with the last time, I took the movie quite personally,
juxtaposing my own existential crisis with Marcello’s. Neither
Marcello nor, seemingly, anyone he meets is able to resolve their
crisis and find a reason to live. So, they all die, one way or
another, even the big fish who “insists on looking”. The young girl
at the end shouts to him but he is unable to hear, and turns back to
finish his own destruction.

Leaving the auditorium we walked into the darkening evening and
the start of rain. The colors were quite vivid and a surprising
number of moviegoers followed us down the hill on 17th Street.
Talking about the movie in the midst of a small crowd seemed to
prolong the strange atmosphere left by the movie itself, and I started
to wonder whether my solution to my existential questions was not
merely an illusion I constructed, and whether, perhaps, the
meaninglessness and absurdity of life might not, at any moment, crush
me flat.

Somehow I made it home alive.

Sin City

A disturbing mix of violence and sex. Some call it nihilistic,
but I wouldn’t go that far… instead it merely demonstrates the idea
that no good deed goes unpunished. Graphically interesting, though
for completely-made-up movies I much preferred the visuals in Sky