Tom Novelli tnovelli at
Wed Mar 14 06:37:18 PDT 2007

You've got the point... I'll just elaborate on it...

Javascript has some nice attributes besides being popular:
- Functional-OO paradigm, with first-class functions
- Simplicity - little syntatic sugar & backward-compatibility baggage
- ECMA standards
- A static typing extension (for efficient native code generation)

With static typing (and a little hacking) you could output machine code to a
byte array... so you could write a JS compiler, VM, low-level drivers &
bootloader -- all in Javascript.

Hopefully this VM would support other popular languages (efficiently), and
there'd be a cross-language library.  Now, I like Python because it comes
with 250 *high-quality* modules... in other languages I'd be using lots of
3rd-party add-ons, pulling my hair out in frustration over bugs and
dependency problems.  In theory, the other languages could use Python's
library, using some wrapper functions where necessary to fit the other
languages' stylistic differences.  This is my idea of "Language

Going further, we would expect "Language Unification", where everyone
gradually agrees on stylistic conventions and semantics, until the different
languages finally merge.  (I don't expect ONE language in the end, but at
least the _arbitrary_ differences ought to disappear)

I'd do this Javascript OS as a quick demo and worry about cross-language
issues later.  I just need a static-typing JS compiler...

As for Ian Piumarta, I was thinking of his "COLA" project (now renamed
"Albert").  It's still pretty rough, but it includes the beginnings of
Javascript and Python compilers (in idst/examples/jolt/)

And here's some background info... I did not realize Ian was working with
Alan Kay, nor have I read anything about VPRI... Sounds like a group with
similar aims to ours.

- Tom

P.S. - I'm giving Gmail chat a try... I'm awake from about 1200-0300 GMT
(weekends are best)

On 3/13/07, Keith Poole <keith.poole at> wrote:
> I never thought about using Javascript as a language like this, but I
> suppose it depends on the environment it's running in - would this be
> something like:
> - A Javascript compiler running on a VM which will compile down to
> native code on whichever platform it's running on
> - Garbage collection/Object Store would be carried out by the VM (the VM
> would perform the role of a microkernel?) - would this be written in JS?
> - Extensions to Javascript for low level coding (to allow H/W drivers to
> be written)
> or am I missing the point?
> If that's that you're thinking, it's not a bad idea to use a C syntax
> for development, since lots of people would be comfortable with that.
> As far as the Right Thing(tm) goes, personally I think you'd struggle to
> unify all of these languages, but there must be a set of minimal
> principles that can be derived from them & people could create other
> features from them.
> Cheers
> Keith
> PS, by Ian Piumarta's work do you mean the reconfigurable VM?
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