[jmm-dev] Non-core-model issues status

Hans Boehm boehm at acm.org
Sat Oct 4 00:20:40 UTC 2014

Let me try restating the proposed finalization rules and moving the
annotation from a filed to the containing class.  As far as I can tell, the
annotation we've been discussing really only impacts the treatment of the
containing class, so that seems to be a more logical place for it.

1. A class is reachability-sensitive if it has a non-default finalizer or
is suitably annotated (e.g. because its instances are cleaned up by a
finalizer guardian or through a reference queue).

2. A reference variable is reachability-sensitive if its static type is a
reachability-sensitive class (Q1: or array of such?).

3. The end of the scope of a reachability-sensitive variable synchronizes
with the invocation of the finalize() method on the object to which it last
referred.  For this purpose, the "this" reference is treated as an implicit
parameter to member functions.  (Q2: The treatment of expression temporary
reachability-sensitive references is unclear.  Do we treat them as though
they had a scope that lasts through the end of the full expression, as for
C++ destructors?)

I think this is implementable at modest performance cost, though
non-trivial compiler engineering cost.  To enforce (3) the compiler mist
either treat the end of such a scope as a release operation (though without
the actual fence) or refrain from moving operations across the next GC
safe-point.  The GC should then guarantee sufficient synchronization.  Hard
real-time GCs may have other issues, but I would be surprised if this
became expensive to enforce.

We don't enforce a corresponding property for references whose static type
is not reachability-sensitive while their dynamic type is.  I think that's
generally OK, since the fields being cleaned up by a finalizer can't be
accessed in such a context without entering another one in which the static
reachability-sensitive type is visible.  There's usually a similar argument
for indirect references to reachability-sensitive objects.

It seems to me that this would implicitly make most code that either
naively used finalizers (instead of finalizer guardians or java.lang.ref)
or correctly annotated finalizable classes correct.

Q3: Where does this leave the current conditions in
http://docs.oracle.com/javase/specs/jls/se8/html/jls-12.html#jls-12.6.2 ?
Can we just drop it?


On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM, Hans Boehm <boehm at acm.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 4:26 AM, Doug Lea <dl at cs.oswego.edu> wrote:
> >
> > On 09/07/2014 01:55 AM, Hans Boehm wrote:
> >>
> >> we seem to have lots of evidence that essentially everyone currently
> gets
> >> this code wrong, introducing premature deallocations.
> >
> >
> > Continuing in vacillation mode.... What do you think of
> > the following concrete version of Jeremy's original
> > suggestion:
> >
> > 1. Introduce reachabilityFence (or whatever name;
> > How about "keepReachable"?)
> >
> > 2. Spec at syntax level that every declaration and
> > use of a local (or param) ref to an object of a class F
> > defining finalize() is translated from:
> >   F f;
> >   ...
> >   <end of scope>
> > to:
> >   F f;
> >   try {
> >     ...
> >     <end of scope>
> >   } finally
> >      if (f != null) reachabilityFence(f);
> >   }
> >
> > It might be a little challenging to spec this to cover multiple
> > refs while keeping blocked scopes, but it seems feasible.
> I think that's similar to the earlier proposal with annotations, except
> that we're back to "defining finalize()" as the criterion for when to apply
> it.  I think that's the wrong criterion.  Counterexamples:
> - Any class that uses a finalizer guardian (recommended practice in
> places, I think) to perform finalization on its behalf.
> - Any object that's "finalized" by enqueuing it on a reference queue
> instead of using a "finalize()" method.  (Recommended practice to deal with
> the lack of finalize() ordering.)
> I think we need a field annotation A that basically says: "This field
> becomes unusable once the enclosing object becomes unreachable".  That's
> only loosely correlated with defining a finalize() method.  We then
> essentially guarantee that every method that uses a field x.f, where f is
> annotated with A keeps x reachable as long as that would be expected by the
> naive semantics, by performing the transformation you suggest.
> I'm not sure, but I think we might be able to avoid dealing with
> transitive reachability issues.  If field f is annotated with a, and I have
> T' x = ...;
> {
>    T y = x.a;
>    {
>        foo(y.f);
>    }
> }
> where x is finalizable with a finalizer that invalidates f, I should
> annotate both a and f, and the right things should happen.  And that
> actually makes sense, I think.
> For things like new T'().a.foo(), where foo uses f, to work correctly, we
> probably need something like the C++ rule in the "naive semantics", that
> references stay around until the end of the enclosing full expression.
> This requires more thought, but this annotation seems to be significantly
> easier and cleaner to use than reachabilityFence.
> Hans
> >
> > This seems to completely address premature finalization,
> > at the expense of lack of control in the other direction.
> >
> > The only middle ground I see is the one you like least,
> > of telling people to write their own try-finally blocks.
> >
> > -Doug
> >
> >
> >

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