Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

How I learned to stop being afraid and love the JVM

James Turnbull (Glitch)
4:15pm4:55pm Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Location: Ballroom E
Level: Beginner
Average rating: ****.
(4.14, 7 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Sysadmins, DevOps, developers, and engineers

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Familiarity with (and fear of) the JVM

What you'll learn

  • Understand why the JVM provokes such strong reactions
  • Learn how the modern JVM and modern Java work and how to overcome the issues you've experienced in the past
  • Gain a newfound respect for the JVM as a platform


The JVM. It inspires either respect or fear and hatred. Gather a group of sysadmins together and ask them about the JVM, and you’ll hear a tirade of stories about memory leaks, tuning nightmares, stability, complex toolchains, and incomprehensible output. Talk to developers and long-time users of the JVM, and you’ll see a quiet reverence for a powerful, performant, and scalable platform that just works.

So why the dichotomy? James Turnbull explores why the JVM inspires such disdain and hatred, taking a potted look at the good, bad, and ugly of the JVM’s history and development, even taking a detour into Java itself.

Along the way, James debunks the myths around the JVM (and Java itself) as he walks you through modern Java and the modern JVM—covering tuning, logging, metrics, and deployment—and introduces you to available tools that make managing and running the JVM easy and simple.

You’ll leave with a healthy respect for the JVM—or at least a more nuanced understanding of it.

Photo of James Turnbull

James Turnbull


James Turnbull is VPE at Glitch. A longtime member of the open source community, James is the author of a number of books about open source software. Previously, he was a CTO in residence at Microsoft, founder and chief technology officer at Empatico and Kickstarter, VPE of Venmo, and an adviser at Docker. James likes food, wine, books, photography, and cats. He is not overly keen on long walks on the beach or holding hands.