What is the Difference Between JVM and CLR? with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

The main difference between JVM and CLR is that the JVM is a virtual machine that is used to execute Java bytecodes while the CLR is a virtual machine that manages the execution of .NET programs.

JVM or Java Virtual Machine allows executing byte code, which is generated when compiling a Java source code. It is available on many hardware and software platforms. In other words, JVM is platform dependent. On the other hand, CLR or Common Language Runtime provides the environment to run programs written on the .NET framework. It also provides additional services including type safety, exception handling, garbage collection, thread management, and security.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is JVM?
     – Definition, Functionality
2. What is CLR?
     – Definition, Functionality
3. What is the difference between JVM and CLR?
     – Comparison of key differences

Key terms

CLR, Common Language Runtime, JVM, Java Virtual Machine

What is JVM?

A Java program is a set of instructions written in the Java programming language. Provides instructions for the computer to perform a certain task. Also, we call the program written by the programmer as the source code. This source code is readable and understandable by the programmer, but not understandable by the computer. When compiling Java source code, the Java compiler converts that code into intermediate code called bytecode. The JVM then converts this bytecode to machine code so that it can execute the task defined in the program.

When converting Java source code to bytecode, it is not written for the physical machine. It is written for the JVM. So bytecode can be executed on any machine that has a JVM. Here, note that bytecode is platform independent, while JVM is platform dependent.

What is CLR?

CLR or Common Language Runtime is a virtual machine that provides a runtime environment for the .NET framework. Also, each version of the .NET framework consists of a CLR. You can run any program written in the .NET framework regardless of the programming language.

Also, the programmer can write programs in the .NET framework in various languages ​​such as C#, Visual Basic, and F#. But, after compilation, it generates intermediate code called Microsoft Intermediate Language (MIL). The Just-In-Compiler (JIT) then compiles that intermediate code into machine code. Therefore, this final machine code is understandable by the computer and can perform the defined task.

Meanwhile, the CLR provides multiple advantages. Provides cross-language integration, exception handling, enhanced security, and implementation support. Also, CLR improves performance. Also, it provides a garbage collector to manage memory and make debugging easier.

Difference between JVM and CLR


JVM is a virtual machine that allows a computer to run Java programs and compile them into Java bytecode. CLR is a virtual machine of the Microsoft .NET framework that manages the execution of .NET programs. Therefore, this is the fundamental difference between JVM and CLR. .

Full Form

Also, JVM stands for Java Virtual Machine while CLR stands for Common Language Runtime.


Also, the JVM is associated with the Java programming language while the CLR is associated with the .NET framework.

Core Functionality

Another difference between JVM and CLR is that JVM is used to convert bytecode to machine code, but CLR provides the runtime environment for .NET framework.


JVM stands for Java Virtual Machine while CLR stands for Common Language Runtime. In short, the difference between JVM and CLR is that JVM is a virtual machine that executes Java bytecodes while CLR is a virtual machine that manages the execution of .NET programs.


1.“Java Virtual Machine.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, September 29, 2018, Available here.
2. “.NET Framework – CLR”, Tutorials Point (India) Pvt. Ltd., Dec 6, 2016, Available here.
3. “Common Language Runtime.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, September 5, 2018, Available here.

Courtesy image:

1. “JvmSpec7” By Michelle Ridomi – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Microsoft .NET logo” By Microsoft – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

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