OK, I was back home for the holidays and was fortunate to talk to a programmer working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. We were talking about using assembly code when memory space is precious.
I asked him "Why not code in Java bytecode by hand (as opposed to having Java code compiled to it), then use the GNU Java Compiler to translate it to whatever machine you need?"
I've been thinking about that for a long time now and I'm curious: is this a practical idea at all? If so, why don't people do it?