# Wednesday, 25 November 2009
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Running Eclipse with NGEN

In the weeks before PDC I've been working on compiling Eclipse with ikvmc. This works was triggered by Mainsoft's Eyal Alaluf who asked me to work on this and also provided a desperately needed starting point. I had wanted to do this for ages, but didn't feel like struggling with the Eclipse build system to figure out how to get started.

A couple of the changes in the most recent development snapshot are specifically related to this. In particular the ability for custom assembly class loaders to be called when the module initializer is run. This enables the statically compiled Eclipse OSGi bundles to be lazily activated on first use.


Here are the steps needed to compile Eclipse 3.4.2 x86 on Windows:

  1. Download eclipse-SDK-3.4.2-win32.zip
  2. Download ikvmbin-0.43.3595.zip
  3. Download ikvm-eclipse-0.1.zip
  4. Unzip eclipse-SDK-3.4.2-win32.zip
  5. Open a Command Prompt in the just unzipped eclipse directory
  6. Unzip ikvmbin-0.43.3595.zip in that directory
  7. Unzip ikvm-eclipse-0.1.zip in that directory
  8. Create a directory for the compiled plugins:
    md plugins-compiled
  9. Run ikvmc to compile the eclipse plugins:
    ikvm\bin\ikvmc @response0.txt
    ikvm\bin\ikvmc @response1.txt
    (Ignore the warnings and note that this takes a while and requires a lot of memory. I haven't tested this on a 32 bit machine, it may well run out of address space there.)
  10. You can now run "eclipse-clr.exe" to start Eclipse. Note that if you compare startup times, the first time that Eclipse starts it does some initial configuration, so don't compare the first startup with the subsequent ones.
  11. Optionally you can run ngen-all.bat to compile all assemblies to native code. Make sure that you have the x86 version of ngen.exe in your path. Note that this also takes a while.

Source Code

The sources for eclipse-clr.exe are in this Visual Studio 2008 solution. It's pretty small and most of what it does is configure and hook OSGi to change the bundle loading and initialization. If you want to build eclipse-clr.exe, you first have to run ikvmc on response0.txt, then build eclipse-clr.exe (it depends on the OSGi assembly built with response0.txt) and after that you can run ikvmc on response1.txt (it depends on eclipse-clr.exe, because that contains the custom assembly class loader used for the bundles).

The response0.txt and response1.txt files were generated from the OSGi manifests and if there is interest I can publish the source to that as well, but is pretty hacky.


When compiled to native with ngen, Eclipse starts up faster than with JDK 1.6 on my systems. In theory the private working set should also be significantly less, allowing multiple Eclipse instances to use far less memory.


This is just a technology demonstration, not production code and has not been extensively tested.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009 06:32:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [20]