Maxine Virtual Machine

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Original author(s)Bernd Mathiske, Douglas Simon
Developer(s)University of Manchester, Maxine team
Initial release2005 (2005)
Stable release
2.6.0[1] / December 5, 2018 (2018-12-05)
Written inJava
Operating systemSolaris, Linux, macOS
Platformx64, ARM32, AArch46, RISC-V
TypeJava virtual machine
LicenseGPL version 2.0

The Maxine virtual machine is an open source virtual machine that is developed at the University of Manchester.[2] It was formerly developed by Sun Microsystems Laboratories,[3] since renamed Oracle Labs. The emphasis in Maxine's software architecture is on modular design and code reuse for flexibility, configurability, and productivity for industrial and academic virtual machine researchers. It is one of a growing number of Java virtual machines written entirely in Java in a meta-circular style. Examples include Squawk and Jikes RVM.


The Maxine VM is characterized internally by aggressive use of advanced language features in Java 1.5 and 1.6, by modular subsystems coordinated through Java interfaces, and by the absence of an interpreter.


Maxine is plug compatible with an unmodified Java Development Kit (JDK). Maxine can be developed, built, and run in standard Java integrated development environments (IDEs), including NetBeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ IDEA.

Systems programming in Java

A secondary goal of the project is to develop methods and tools for "systems programming in Java". Compiler extensions, configured in VM source code using Java annotations, allow use, with no performance penalty, of low-level operations otherwise disallowed in Java.

The Maxine Inspector

Specialized debugging support for the Maxine VM is provided by the Maxine Inspector: a companion tool that acts as a combined object, class, and method browser, and as a machine- and bytecode-level debugger.[4] The Inspector runs out-of-process, needs no active VM support, and leverages code shared with the VM for specialized developer services.


Maxine was created by Bernd Mathiske at Sun Labs in early 2005. He led its development among a growing team until late 2008 when he left Sun Microsystems and handed the project over to Doug Simon who had been the first engineer to join it. Doug Simon continued in this role throughout the acquisition of Sun by Oracle Corporation.

The Maxine inspector was created by Bernd Mathiske at Sun Labs in 2006. Further development was handed over to Michael Van De Vanter in 2007.

Oracle continued development of Maxine until the release of Maxine 2.0.[5] The University of Manchester is developing Maxine as of release 2.1.[6]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Wimmer, Christian; Haupt, Michael; Van de Vanter, Michael L.; Jordan, Mick; Daynès, Laurent; Simon, Douglas (January 2013). "Maxine: An approachable virtual machine for, and in, Java". ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO). 9 (4, Article 30).
  3. ^ "Oracle Labs – About". Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  4. ^ "Welcome – Oracle Community". Retrieved 2017-06-25.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-09-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Maxine-VM: Maxine VM: A meta-circular research VM". GitHub. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-25.

External links