Maxine Virtual Machine

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Developer(s) Maxine team at University of Manchester
Stable release
2.1.1 / May 31, 2017 (2017-05-31)
Written in Java
Operating system Solaris, Linux, Mac OS X
Type Java Virtual Machine
License GPL version 2.0

The Maxine Virtual Machine[1] is an open source virtual machine that is developed at the University of Manchester. It was previously developed by Oracle Labs[2] (formerly Sun Microsystems Laboratories). The emphasis in Maxine's architecture is on modular design and code reuse in the name of 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 (for example, 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 JDK. Maxine can be developed, built, and run in standard Java IDEs, including Netbeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ IDEA.

Systems programming in Java[edit]

A secondary goal of the project is development of methodologies and tools for "systems programming in Java". Compiler extensions, configured in VM source code using Java annotations, permit the use, without performance penalty, of low-level operations that are not otherwise allowed in Java.

The Maxine Inspector[edit]

Specialized debugging support for the Maxine VM is provided by the Maxine Inspector:[3] a companion tool that acts as a combined object, class, and method browser, as well as a machine- and bytecode-level debugger. The Inspector runs out-of-process, requires 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 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.

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

Oracle continued development of Maxine until the release of Maxine 2.0.[4] The University of Manchester is developing Maxine as of release 2.1.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christian Wimmer, Michael Haupt, Michael L. Van De Vanter, Mick Jordan, Laurent Daynès, and Douglas Simon. 2013. Maxine: An approachable virtual machine for, and in, Java. ACM Transactions on Architecture and Code Optimization (TACO) 9, 4, Article 30 (January 2013), 24 pages.
  2. ^ "Oracle Labs - About". Retrieved 2017-06-25. 
  3. ^ "Welcome - Oracle Community". Retrieved 2017-06-25. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Maxine-VM: Maxine VM: A meta-circular research VM". GitHub. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-25. 

External links[edit]