[concurrency-interest] DirectByteBuffers and reachabilityFence

David M. Lloyd david.lloyd at redhat.com
Tue Dec 8 10:22:49 EST 2015

On 12/08/2015 08:40 AM, Vitaly Davidovich wrote:
>     The lifetime, natural or otherwise, of an instance does not survive
>     until an instance method returns because, a lot of the time, that
>     instance method is inlined.
> You're talking about optimization here (inlining); by "natural" I meant
> the naive/no optimization case (e.g. interpreter, debugger attached
> w/breakpoint in method, etc).
>     It's not just HotSpot, though: some VMs are even more aggressive, and
> Which java VMs are these? Just curious.
>     we have seen finalizers executed even before constructors have
>     completed.  And that is allowed by the specification.
> Ok, but that's beside the point, really.  Surely if compiler can
> optimize and arrange for liveness to allow for it, then it's a good
> thing it does that.  My point isn't that this cannot happen due to spec,
> but rather that in places like DBB where `this` is used after the Unsafe
> call the  compiler has to schedule things differently in order to reduce
> lifetime.  And my point is that compilers generally tend to be cautious
> in doing things that may break code.  This is the practical aspect we
> were referring to - it's actual humans writing these optimizations, and
> they're sensitive to breaking code, particularly in java.
> Theoretically, yes, anything is possible.
>     It's already broken.
> Sure.  Now try to submit a patch to Hotspot that will break this case,
> even if allowed by spec, and see how far you get :).

If you're talking about simply observing the effects of an object being 
collected while method invocations on that object are still in flight, 
see this article:


We have run into this issue numerous times in various situations, which 
is why we're happy to see reachabilityFence() come into being.  So yes, 
it's already broken.

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