What is a ``reflective'' system?

Bill House bhouse@dazsi.com
Sun, 11 May 1997 08:58:48 -0700

Jordan Henderson wrote:
>Perhaps the Lisp assembly could assemble down to the LispVM.  But, what 
>will the LispVM be written in?  C?  This might work well with Flux OS, 
>which seems to define it's interfaces in C language terms.  Also, if 
>we're assembling down to a LispVM, then we could influence the LispVM 
>design to make sure there are good subroutine and exception mechanisms 
>built into it at a low level, and then make the assembler a very high 
>level assembler, complete with all kinds of syntactic sugar and 
>syntactic support for exceptions.  Maybe I need to be posting this to 
>the LispVM list.  I hope they are looking at Dis from Inferno.  
>There's reason to believe that a register based VM like Dis is orders 
>of magnitude simpler to implement as a JIT compiler and much-much 
>smaller (I understand that Acer and other's have chosen Inferno to build 
>NetPCs on instead of Java because they estimate the VM and support will 
>be 1 MB of RAM instead of 4 MB of RAM required for JVM).
I like these ideas. LispVM is in all likelihood going to be written in C,
although I suppose there's some merit to the idea of writing it in Scheme using

FWIW, the AgentBase VM runs its SmartLisp test suite in 2MB.

Bill House
The views expressed are mine alone,
unless you agree with me.