DISCLAIMER: These notes are from the defunct k8 project which precedes SquirrelJME. The notes for SquirrelJME start on 2016/02/26! The k8 project was effectively a Java SE 8 operating system and as such all of the notes are in the context of that scope. That project is no longer my goal as SquirrelJME is the spiritual successor to it.


Language wise, writing a kernel completely in Java is pretty much the easiest to obtain with Java 8 alone (and newer versions). Earlier versions of the language and compilers just do not store enough information into the class file. The main thing however, are annotations and those will be extremely important.


I wonder what would be a name of a value-less type. Since the one problem that I will have is when I have values such as... Well, I can just make a volatile field in the magic class where I can obtain values from and set values to, since volatiles are never cached by the compiler. I will need this for some local variables where I need to tell the compiler that the value should not be set. Since declaring a register value type then doing = 0 on it to init it will just make the register be equal to zero. So a special volatile field will be used which contains a fake value so the compiler cannot optimize for the value.


This means that my ClassTranslator layout is not going to work, I decided on a potential one shot pass through, but in reality I need to describe an entire class completely before it can be recompiled to anything useful. There would be a large difference however, this would only be for recompiling classes while only native classes are able to be read. That is, the normal KBF format will be tossed into memory and executed from after setup linking is performed. So the slower translation phase is only required on class objects. Since I am aiming for an intrepreter free implementation (because interpreters are rather slow).


Garbage collection will be an interesting bit to solve. I do wonder if some CPUs have an interrupt on memory access that is fast. There are page faults but those could be slow. Yeah page faults would be painfully super slow to be of any practical use.


So can I have a super fast garbage collection system without reference counting, have it not stop the world (for other threads), and making it really fast? I will have to split it between the compiler, but I will also need the compiler be able to place in injection points. Well basically when I load a binary I need to link in a bunch of stuff. Some things might only be known at runtime, say reference escaping. If something never escapes and does not escape itself then it can be placed on the stack with no issues. So garbage collection will need to be both compile and runtime. I could have a straight list of objects which could be garbage collected elsewhere potentially. Or some kind of inverted complex map.


Working on class loading code, now I am the point where I need to load the constant pool. However the constant pool can get a bit ugly. In all of the previous constant pool loaders some were sort of lean and others were very messy. Individual later realizing classes is ugly, enumerations are bad. I need something elegant and something that works well. It is possible that a constant pool entry references something in the future (which is ugly in itself). Maybe an enumeration that lists all of them, then a bunch of individual constant pool implementations in their own classes. I will need a class in the middle which is capable of bridging the constant pool stuff with the class loader.