SYS:RUN-PROGRAM does not work on pre-Java7 JVMs (was Re: abcl-1.4.0 released)

Robert P. Goldman rpgoldman at
Sat Nov 19 15:09:12 UTC 2016

Ideally, it would be nice to compare this design with what ASDF (UIOP) does in RUN-PROGRAM and LAUNCH-PROGRAM, to minimize issues at that API. Elias Pipping is now the person who understands that best. These APIs try to support both invocation through the shell and direct invocation, and separate redirection of input, output, and error output.


Sent from my iPad

> On Nov 19, 2016, at 02:04, Mark Evenson <evenson at> wrote:
>> On 11/18/16 18:25, Scott Burson wrote:
>> It's not a miracle at all.  JVMs have always been backward-compatible with
>> older classfiles.  The big Java app I work on for my day job is mostly
>> compiled for 1.8, but ships with libraries compiled for earlier targets.
>> We've never had the slightest trouble as a result.  You only need to
>> generate a newer bytecode version if you want to use a new feature (like
>> InvokeDynamic -- wasn't Alessio working on that?).
> I now accept Scott's reasoning on this:  ORCL will probably have to
> maintain bytecode compatibility for a long time, otherwise there would
> be chaos with existing libraries that are available binary-only. In
> practice, most of the libraries are distributed by Maven are effectively
> binary-only, as the steps to build from source are not always clear or
> documented.  Plus many commercial vendors distribute applications as jars.
> When we compile our Java, we do get the following warnings:
> Compiling 1 source file to /Users/evenson/work/abcl/build/classes
> warning: [options] bootstrap class path not set in conjunction with
> -source 1.5
> warning: [options] source value 1.5 is obsolete and will be removed in a
> future release
> warning: [options] target value 1.5 is obsolete and will be removed in a
> future release
> warning: [options] To suppress warnings about obsolete options, use
> -Xlint:-options.
> which indicates to me that at some point in the future, JDK-N (where N
> is greater than 9) will not compile to JDK5 bytecode anymore.  Can
> anyone point to a statement of what ORCL intends here for obsolescence?
> ---
> As for the compatiblity problems with SYS:RUN-PROGRAM, my current
> propose is from <>:
> 1. Un-deprecate SYS:RUN-SHELL-COMMAND. Use the pre Java 7 APIs as best
> we can to support invoking programs, which essentially boils down to
> being able to take a string, attempt to invoke it, and return its stdout
> as a string.
> 2.    Re-code the SYS:RUN-PROGRAM Java callsite linkages so that ABCL
> may be compiled on pre-Java7 JDKs. Produce an intelligible error if it
> is invoked on a pre-Java7 JVM.
> 3.     Create an API to determine runtime JVM version. Wrap
> UIOP/RUN-PROGRAM invocation in some sort of handler that will "fall
> back" to using SYS:RUN-SHELL-COMMAND if it has compatible behavior via
> specified args. This will potentially be fairly ugly code ASDF-side so
> we might provide a shim that UIOP/RUN-PROGRAM invokes that contains the
> logic outside the ASDF code base.
> Any objections to this path forward?
> -- 
> "A screaming comes across the sky.  It has happened before, but there
> is nothing to compare to it now."

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