[Q][VM][ENH][RFH][COMP] Request For Help : CompilerPlugin

Bijan Parsia bparsia at email.unc.edu
Sun Apr 14 06:52:36 UTC 2002

On 13 Apr 2002, Cees de Groot wrote:

> John M McIntosh <johnmci at smalltalkconsulting.com> said:
> >[...] it was dreadfully slow and they found as 
> >pointed out here the Java VM does not lend itself to supporting other 
> >languages.
> >
> It is slow, and indeed the Java VM is only good at supporting Java.

Though people have made heroic and interesting efforts. As with compiling
to C and even to modern C focused chips, you gain some but the *huge*
amount of effort being put into make them run fast. You still suffer, of
course, not least from the irritation that if they'd just do a few simple
things, there'd be a little less need for some much heroism all around.
> >Now since we are discussing this, I'll point out the target really 
> >should be the .NET VM where smallscript for example is running. I 
> >believe David challenged us oh a year or two back to port Squeak to 
> >that platform.

Port to Smallscript or port to .NET? The former gets us the latter and
just doing the latter is, in a word, nuts.

> But why would one swap a perfectly acceptably working VM that one has total
> control over, that ports to a *HUGE* number of machines (an order of magnitude
> more than where .NET is available, I think), and that is self-hosted to boot?
> I don't see any benefits. None at all.

I don't see much advantage to porting to .NET itself. If you want .NET
integration, go the SOAP route.

Indeed, CLR (? whatever the common runtime is in .NET) is, at the moment,
positively hostile to highly dynamic languages. Be statically typed or
just plain give up. Or be a hero. From what I understand, Dave did oodles
and oodles of work to get Smallscript integrated, on the order of
implementing all the interesting bits himself. Smallscript *is* sorta the
.NET for dynamic langauges. I think the Python guys are going to use it
instead of the prototype they had.

(Microsoft is supposed to fix all that, but...)

> (my personal opinion is that Dave sold his soul to Bill Gates and is now
> trying to convince the world that .NET will bring world peace, or something
> like that. 

Eh. They gave him money. That seems reasonable to me :)

Smallscript isn't *tied* to .NET. There are very nice non-.NET versions.

Porting to *Smallscript* could mean a lot of things, from adding
compatibility classes, to trying to run the whole image on it...

Could be rather neat, actaully. Much more fun than trying to port to Java
or .NET per se. Not as sexy, perhaps, but that AOS platform has a *lot* of
cool features.

This has been an I wish paid for advertisement :)

Bijan Parsia.

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