[Vm-dev] TZAG everyone! I'm a Coyo, and I'm interested in SqueaksVM development. Hope you dont mind if i poke in here :3

Alex Maurin coyo at parlementum.net
Mon Feb 13 00:11:22 UTC 2012

On Sun, February 12, 2012 12:23 pm, Casey Ransberger wrote:
> Inline.
> On Feb 12, 2012, at 12:32 AM, "Alex Maurin" <coyo at parlementum.net> wrote:
>> Hey all, my name is Coyo / Alex, either one is fine.
>> I recently discovered OpenCobalt, and one of the developers there
>> pointed
>> me at Squeak. it seems an interesting language.
> Cool stuff, huh?

It really is! I'm having fun playing around with the process vm you spoke of.

>> The developer in question has a youtube tutorial series, and since i
>> already have virtualbox installed, i looked at the download options, and
>> supposed that a vm option would be fascinating.
>> I dont know why a language would need its own virtual machine or
>> operating
>> system, but i guess i'm about to find out! :D
> Ah. Maybe this will help complete the picture a bit.

By all means, be my guest!

> Many languages don't compile to native machine code. Instead they compile
> to an abstract machine code (often bytecode for compactness) which is then
> interpreted one way or another (often several) by a virtual machine, which
> lends a great deal of portability. These are sometimes called process
> virtual machines, in contrast to system virtual machines like VMWare,
> which are for virtualizing whole operating systems.

I'm a pretty big fan of VirtualBox myself, i use it everyday.

> Here's where it gets fuzzy. Architecturally, Smalltalk VMs resemble
> process VMs. But in terms of user experience, you'll probably recognize
> some features from VMWare. You get a whole GUI in a window (or full
> screen,) and you can take snapshots and restore them, which you don't
> ordinarily get with a process level VM.
> I suppose it's worth noting at this point that there's no real hard and
> fast delineation here, it's just a taxonomy that someone came up with. I
> think the main feature of a so-called "process" VM tends to be that it's
> tailored for executing the semantics of a particular language or language
> family (this is definitely true of the Squeak VM), but this isn't true
> across the board either. There's a cross-language VM called Parrot in the
> works, which is being driven by the Perl 6 community for example.

That sounds like an awesome project, to have a more-or-less universal
bytecode. that sounds a bit like the .NET stuff m$ came up with, but i'm
glad we have our own project for that.

> Anyway, you don't need VMWare to run Squeak. You need a Squeak VM, a
> Squeak .image file (this is your "snapshot,") and a Squeak .sources file
> (which is where the system keeps its source code, technically optional but
> you'll use it when developing.)
> The vm-dev list is used by folks who are working on the virtual machine
> itself. It's also a place to look for help when you're having trouble e.g.
> compiling the VM, or if you think you've found a bug in a Squeak VM.
> The squeak-dev list is probably a better place to start than here. There's
> also a beginners list, which is really nice for when you get the sense
> that other folks who are just starting out might benefit from the
> dialogue.

Okay, I'll be sure to subscribe to the other lists.

>> This should be fun.
> It's going to be very different from most systems you've been exposed to,
> in all likelihood. Stick with it, and you'll have the time of your life:
> it's a beautiful system, and the people you meet in the course of using it
> will make the investment of your time absolutely worthwhile.
> Nice to meet you, Coyo!
> Casey

Pleasure to meet you as well, Casey!

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