[Vm-dev] RE: Strongtalk VM for Squeak?

David Griswold David.Griswold.at.squeak-vm-dev at avidriswold.mailshell.com
Sun Sep 17 05:11:33 UTC 2006

Hi Craig,

- I wouldn't dream of proposing that Squeak dump its self-hosting
properties.  In the short term, I think a better approach would be to factor
out some kind of common VM interface so that people can plug-in whichever VM
they want.

In the medium term, porting Strongtalk can be done more easily by starting
with just the interpreter and no compiler; the system runs just fine that
way, and then all the really complicated stuff like deoptimization etc can
be deferred.

In the long term, it would be great to rewrite the Strongtalk VM to be
self-hosting and self-debugging.  I had wanted to at least consider this
from the beginning (all that C++ makes me wince too), but I was dissuaded by
the VM guys as it is very much a research topic and we were trying to
develop a commercial product.  The performance of the VM in Strongtalk
(especially the interpreter and compiler) is critical to achieving decent
startup times without noticeable compilation pauses, so at the very least
the host VM must be compiled into some very efficient form.  The Squeak
approach of translating a minimal subset to C might help make that possible.
But it would be a huge project to rewrite the VM in Smalltalk, best done as
research somewhere.

- I haven't looked at Exupery.  I'd have to look to comment.  Performance is
as I have said the critical element, and having a huge chunk of time for
some talented people to do it, which is always the problem.

- As for work, I am working on my own right now, and so have no ability to
hire (and hardly any time to even fiddle with Strongtalk).  If Gilad Bracha,
who is the only one still at Sun, manages to get resources to hire people to
work on this (I wouldn't bet on it given Sun's situation and attitude
towards Smalltalk), that might be a possibility.  BTW, something like Spoon
might be a good candidate for the first port of Squeak to the Strongtalk VM,
if it has a smaller set of demands on the VM.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Craig Latta
> [mailto:craig.at.netjam.org at david.griswold.at.squeak-vm-dev.at.avidriswo
> ld.mailshell.com]
> Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 10:47 PM
> To: David.Griswold.at.squeak-vm-dev at avidriswold.mailshell.com
> Cc: Squeak Virtual Machine Development Discussion
> Subject: re: Strongtalk VM for Squeak?
> Hi Dave--
>       I would love to see the StrongTalk ideas incorporated into Squeak,
> but I'd never want to give up Squeak's wonderful self-hosting property
> (the virtual machine is written in Smalltalk, and runnable and
> debuggable in Smalltalk). All the C++ associated with the current
> StrongTalk makes me wince. :)
>       Another current Squeak project, Bryce Kampjes' "Exupery", a
> physical-processor code translator, manages to maintain this property.
> Could we do this with the StrongTalk ideas? Is there some useful overlap
> between StrongTalk and Exupery? (Others please feel free to chime in.)
>       This also seems like a good time to mention that I'm looking for
> work and that I have extensive experience with the Squeak VM (see, for
> example, my "Spoon" project, a minimal Squeak[1]).
>       thanks!
> -C
> [1] http://rd.mailshell.com/netjam.org/spoon
> --
> Craig Latta
> http://rd.mailshell.com/netjam.org/resume
> ---------- Your email is protected by Mailshell ----------
> To block spam or change delivery options:
> http://www.mailshell.com/control.html?a=bds5l8ebkrvjdzygbifop7ifo7

Wouldn't you rather have David.Griswold.com as your personal domain?
Earn up to $3 for each of your friends who signs up with Mailshell!

More information about the Vm-dev mailing list