JetBrains Releases Tech Preview of VM-less Kotlin
- By John K. Waters
This is a tech preview, not a fully functional release, but it provides potential users with access to the source code on GitHub. When Kotlin/Native goes GA, the compiler will be available under the Apache 2 OSS license. No release target date has been announced.
Kotlin/Native uses the LLVM compiler infrastructure to generate machine code. The LLVM Project is an umbrella project comprising a collection of modular and reusable compiler and toolchain technologies.
The company plans to support several platforms supported by the LLVM in the future. This preview release supports four platforms:
- MacOS X 10.10 and later (x86-64)
- x86-64 Ubuntu Linux (14.04, 16.04 and later)
- Apple iOS (arm64), cross-compiled on MacOS X host
- Raspberry Pi, cross-compiled on Linux host
Kotlin/Native takes the language another step closer to the company's goal of making Kotlin usable throughout a modern application. "Eventually, it will be possible to use Kotlin to write every component," project lead Andrey Breslav wrote in a blog post, "from the server back-end to the Web or mobile clients."
JetBrains is the chief commercial supporter of Kotlin, which it unveiled in 2011 at the JVM Language Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., and later released it for distribution under the Apache 2 Open Source License. The language is actively used in production at the Prague-based JetBrains and by other companies and individual developers "from Web-service back-ends to Android apps," said project lead Andrey Breslav. The company has reportedly committed 20 JetBrains employees to the project, and claims that nearly 100 collaborators are working on the language.
John has been covering the high-tech beat from Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area for nearly two decades. He serves as Editor-at-Large for Application Development Trends (www.ADTMag.com) and contributes regularly to Redmond Magazine, The Technology Horizons in Education Journal, and Campus Technology. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Everything Guide to Social Media; The Everything Computer Book; Blobitecture: Waveform Architecture and Digital Design; John Chambers and the Cisco Way; and Diablo: The Official Strategy Guide.