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Core Java Interview Questions and Answers

Ques. What is Main thread in Java?
An instance of java.lang.Thread is not a thread; it can be used to represent a thread of execution in the JVM but the JVM is perfectly capable of creating threads without using the Thread class at all.

This is what happens with the main thread: the JVM creates it, and an instance of java.lang.Thread is created to represent it later.

The startup of the JVM calls the static Threads::create_vm function, which is already running in a thread set up by the operating system. Within that function we find:

3191   // Attach the main thread to this os thread
3192   JavaThread* main_thread = new JavaThread();
3193   main_thread->set_thread_state(_thread_in_vm);
3194   // must do this before set_active_handles and initialize_thread_local_storage
3195   // Note: on solaris initialize_thread_local_storage() will (indirectly)
3196   // change the stack size recorded here to one based on the java thread
3197   // stacksize. This adjusted size is what is used to figure the placement
3198   // of the guard pages.
3199   main_thread->record_stack_base_and_size();
3200   main_thread->initialize_thread_local_storage();
The JavaThread class is apparently used for bookkeeping; it associates an OS or VM thread with a Java Thread object. The Java object apparently doesn't exist yet. The code then goes on to initialize various other things, and later on still in the same function we find this:
3335     // Initialize java_lang.System (needed before creating the thread)
3336     if (InitializeJavaLangSystem) {
3337       initialize_class(vmSymbols::java_lang_System(), CHECK_0);
3338       initialize_class(vmSymbols::java_lang_ThreadGroup(), CHECK_0);
3339       Handle thread_group = create_initial_thread_group(CHECK_0);
3340       Universe::set_main_thread_group(thread_group());
3341       initialize_class(vmSymbols::java_lang_Thread(), CHECK_0);
3342       oop thread_object = create_initial_thread(thread_group, main_thread, CHECK_0);
3343       main_thread->set_threadObj(thread_object);
3344       // Set thread status to running since main thread has
3345       // been started and running.
3346       java_lang_Thread::set_thread_status(thread_object,
3347       										java_lang_Thread::RUNNABLE);
In other words, we it initializes the System, ThreadGroup, and Thread classes, then creates an instance of Thread referenced by thread_object (line 3342), and sets the Thread instance for the main JavaThread.

If you wonder what the create_initial_thread does, apparently it allocates the Thread instance, stores a pointer to the JavaThread (C++) object in the private eetop field of the Thread instance, sets the thread priority field to normal, calls the Thread(ThreadGroup group,String name)constructor, and returns the instance:
 967 // Creates the initial Thread
 968 static oop create_initial_thread(Handle thread_group, JavaThread* thread, TRAPS) {
 969   klassOop k = SystemDictionary::resolve_or_fail(vmSymbols::java_lang_Thread(), true, CHECK_     NULL);
 970   instanceKlassHandle klass (THREAD, k);
 971   instanceHandle thread_oop = klass->allocate_instance_handle(CHECK_NULL);
 973   java_lang_Thread::set_thread(thread_oop(), thread);
 974   java_lang_Thread::set_priority(thread_oop(), NormPriority);
 975   thread->set_threadObj(thread_oop());
 977   Handle string = java_lang_String::create_from_str("main", CHECK_NULL);
 979   JavaValue result(T_VOID);
 980   JavaCalls::call_special(&result, thread_oop,
 981                                    klass,
 982                                    vmSymbols::object_initializer_name(),
 983                                    vmSymbols::threadgroup_string_void_signature(),
 984                                    thread_group,
 985                                    string,
 986                                    CHECK_NULL);
 987   return thread_oop();
 988 }
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