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This guide describes how to build the Jikes RVM. The first section is an overview of the Jikes RVM build process and this is followed by your system requirements and a detailed description of the steps required to build JikesRVM.

Overview

Compiling the source code

The majority of the Jikes RVM is written in Java and will be compiled into class files just as with other Java applications. There is also a small portion of the Jikes RVM that is written in C that must be compiled with a C compiler such as gcc. The Jikes RVM uses Ant version 1.6.5 or later as the build tool that orchestrates the build process and executes the steps required in building the Jikes RVM.

Generating source code

The build process also generates Java and C source code based on build time constants such as the selected instruction architecture, garbage collectors and compilers. The generation of the source code occurs prior to the compilation phase.

Bootstrapping the RVM

The Jikes RVM compiles Java class files and produces arrays of code and data. To build itself the Jikes RVM will execute on an existing Java Virtual Machine and compiles a copy of it's own class files into a boot image for the code and data using thw boot image writer tool. The boot image runner is a small C program that loads the boot image and transfers control flow into the Jikes RVM.

Class libraries

The Java class library is the mechanism by which Java programs communicate with the outside world. The Jikes RVM uses the GNU Classpath class library. The developer can either specify a particular version of GNU Classpath to use or they can allow the build process to download and build an appropriate version of the library.

Target Requirements

The Jikes RVM is known to work on certain combinations of instruction architectures, address widths and operating systems. The following table details the targets that have historically been supported and the current status of the support. The target.name column  is the identifier that the Jikes RVM uses to identify this target.

target.name

Operating System

Instruction Architecture

Address Size

Status

ia32-linux

Linux

ia32

32 bits

OK

ia32-osx

OSX

ia32

32 bits

Unknown

ppc32-aix

AIX

PowerPC

32 bits

Unknown

ppc32-linux

Linux

PowerPC

32 bits

OK

ppc32-osx

OSX

PowerPC

32 bits

Not Working

ppc64-aix

AIX

PowerPC

64 bits

Unknown

ppc64-linux

Linux

PowerPC

64 bits

Not Working

x86_64-linux

Linux

ia32

64 bits

OK

There was a port to win32 at one stage but this was never integrated into the main Jikes RVM codebase.

Tool Requirements

Java Virtual Machine

The Jikes RVM requires an existing Java Virtual Machine that conforms to Java 5.0 such as Sun JDK 1.5 or IBM JDK 5.0. Some Java Virtual Machines are unable to cope with compiling the Java class library so it is recomended that you install one of the above mentioned JVMs if they are not already installed on your system. The remaining build instructions assume that this Java Virtual Machine on your path. You can run "java -version" to check you are using the correct JVM.

Ant

Ant version 1.6.5 or later is the tool required to orchestrate the build process. You can download and install the Ant tool from http://ant.apache.org/ if it is not already installed on your system. The remaining build instructions assume that $ANT_HOME/bin is on your path. You can run "ant -version" to check you are running the correct version of ant.

C Tool Chain

The Jikes RVM assumes that the GNU C Tool Chain is present on the system or a tool chain that is reasonably compatible. Most modern *nix environments satisfy this requirement.

Bison

As part of the build process the Jikes RVM uses the bison tool which should be present on most modern *nix environments.

Perl

Perl is trivially used as part of the build process but this requirement may be removed in future releases of Jikes RVM. Perl is also used as part of the regression and performance testing framework.

Awk

GNU Awk is required as part of the regression and performance testing framework but is not required when building Jikes RVM.

Instructions

Defining Ant properties

There are a number of ant properties that are used to control the build process of the Jikes RVM. These properties may either be specified on the command line by "-Dproperty=variable" or they may be specified in a file named ".ant.properties" in the base directory of the jikesrvm source tree. The ".ant.properties" file is a standard Java proeprty file with each line containing a "property=variable" and comments starting with a # and finishing at the end of the line. The following table describes some properties that are commonly specified.

Property

Description

Default

host.name

The name of the host environment used for building the Jikes RVM. The name should match one of the files located in the build/hosts/ directory minus the '.properties' extension. 

None

target.name

The name of the target environment for the Jikes RVM.  The name should match one of the files located in the build/targets/ directory minus the '.properties' extension. This should only be specified when cross compiling the Jikes RVM. See [Using the RVM] for a detailed description of cross compilation.

$

Unknown macro: {host.name}


config.name

The name of the configuration used when building the Jikes RVM. The name should match one of the files located in the build/configs/ directory minus the '.properties' extension. This setting is further described in the section Configuring the RVM.

None

patch.name

An identifier for the current patch applied to the source tree. See [Using the RVM] for a description of how this fits into the standard usage patterns of the Jikes RVM.

""

components.dir

The directory where Ant looks for external components when building the RVM.

$

Unknown macro: {jikesrvm.dir}

/components
|

dist.dir

The directory where Ant stores the final jikes RVM images.

$

/dist

build.dir

The directory where Ant stores the intermediate artifacts generated when building the Jikes RVM.

$

Unknown macro: {jikesrvm.dir}

/target




At a minimum it is recomended that the user specify the host.name in the ".ant.properties" file.

 The configuration files in "build/targets/" and "build/hosts/" are designed to work with a typical install but it may be necessary to overide specific properties. The easiest way to achieve this is to specify the properties to override in the ".ant.properties" file.

Selecting a Configuration

A "configuration" in terms of the Jikes RVM is the combination of build time parameters and component selection used for a particular Jikes RVM image. The Configuring the RVM section describes the details of how to define a configuration. Typical configuration names include;

  • production: This configuration defines a fully optimized version of the Jikes RVM.
  • development: This configuration is the same as production but with debug options enabled. The debug options perform internal verification of the Jikes RVM which means that it builds and executes more slowly.
  • prototype: This configuration is compiled using an unoptimized compiler and includes minimal components which means it has the fastest build time.
  • prototype-opt: This configuration is compiled using an unoptimized compiler but it includes the adaptive system and optimizing compiler. This configuration has a reasonably fast build time.

If a user is working on a particular configuration most of the time they may specify the config.name ant property in ".ant.properties" otherwise it should be passed in on the command line "-Dconfig.name=...".

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