[Vm-dev] HackerNews + vm-dev = a lightbulb saying "STACK!"

Eliot Miranda eliot.miranda at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 20:55:40 UTC 2012

On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM, Colin Putney <colin at wiresong.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM, Eliot Miranda <eliot.miranda at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Right now I'm redesigning the bytecode set to lift limits on branch
> distances, number of literals, and number of inst vars.  So a small
> increment.
> I suppose that Newspeak is different from Smalltalk in terms of the
> size and complexity of methods that it encourages. It could be that
> the existing limits are blocking the development of Newspeak, and
> obviously legacy code is much less of an issue for Newspeak than
> Squeak.

Not newspeak.  But within Cadence we have internal customers that are
hitting limits we must lift.

> But… isn't that an odd cost/benefit mismatch? It would seem that
> switching instruction sets isn't easy, even given VM support. Are
> there no other changes that could/should be made at the same time?  Is
> this something we could imagine doing more than once in the near
> future?

I had reason to add support for two bytecode sets to the VM recently so all
the support at the VM level is there to do incremental development of the
new bytecode set.  i'm writing the image-level support (you'll perhaps have
noticed the fag to select the bytecode set added to trunk recently).  I can
imagine having multiple bytecode sets being very useful and something one
does quite often.  Claus Gittinger's Smalltalk/X has support for four
bytecode sets and can execute Java bytecode natively.  With the current
header format I've only been able to shoe-horn in a single one.

Making lots of changes at one time is a way of increasing the risk of

> Colin

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