The VM Goals

Dwight Hughes
Mon, 5 May 1997 19:48:58 -0500

| From: John Wood <>
   [ -- snip -- ]
| forward with the pace of technology.   I have also done a lot of research
| Intentional Programming (a technology conceived by Charles Simonyi of 
| Microsoft Research) and so I feel that I can contribute greatly to this 
| project in terms of innovation.
| I have one initial question - to what extent is the LispVM required to be

| specific to the Lisp language?  I feel that if we want to produce a
| processor" specification which is ultimately universal, then we should be

| looking at something wider than a model which fits the Lisp architecture.
| recall Bill House mentioning that Lisp can ultimately describe the
features of 
| all languages, but I think we should be considering something flexible
| to fit future language requirements than just past languages.  Comments?
| John

To get a view of some of the things discussed and some of the resources/
places of interest go to: <>.

An archive of messages for the LispOS and the LispVM are at:

The LispVM separated out later so much of the discussion about a LispVM
is buried down in the LispOS messages. Altogether about 700 messages since
4/23/97 - we're a bit excited <g>.

My own views of the path a LispVM should go are based on ASTs and direct
native code generation from this representation. Not actually an
interpreted or JIT type VM - more of a portable intermediate code
spec actually. At any rate, at least a high-level representation 
capable of being semantically extended using a decently general grammar
so that necessary support for new and/or different languages/styles 
of programming may be accommodated without compromising the core support 
for Lisp/Scheme. The "eval-apply" link above gives links to the Juice
project which has applied just such a scheme to the Oberon language/OS 
environment. (This, of course, is no problem for us - we'll just bang
it out over some weekend. <G> I'm just not saying which weekend of 
which year.)

At the moment however I am more interested in the core of the *true*
LispOS and what it is going to require and how to get there.

A name of DynamicOS/VM might be more appropriate to our intentions --
to produce an OS defined for and by dynamic languages with the
unique advantages they bring to the arena, unhampered by the
limitations of fundamentally static OS models. (Well, thats my view
anyway.) Lisp is where it will begin however and "LispOS" and "LispVM"
are easier to type - so there you are.

-- Dwight