M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
znmeb at cesmail.net
Tue Mar 20 08:44:19 PDT 2007
Tom Novelli wrote:
> planning stages, probably for the next 2-4 years. They're all talking
> about static typing, native compilation, real GC, and so on -- and
> borrowing heavily from one another. These languages won't give up
> their individuality yet, but a "common core" is entirely possible.
> This has the potential to make TUNES a reality, in large part. If we
> do our homework, this could be an opportune time to weigh in.
There are three "existing" common cores, and all three were represented
at the Ruby implementors' summit. They are the Java Virtual Machine (now
GPL, IIRC), Microsoft's Common Language Runtime, which I think is still
proprietary, and Parrot, which has some open source license but I've
forgotten which one. As I noted in my blog post, I think Parrot is a
long shot -- unless they get some industrial-strength support and soon,
we'll get to watch a phenomenon described aptly by Damon Runyon: "The
race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong -- but
that's the way to bet!"
I personally don't like virtual machines. We have over five decades of
evolution of hardware, architectures, compiler technology, operating
system technology, language design, theoretical computer science, etc.,
under our collective belts and *still* people find it necessary to put
one extra layer between the user and the solution to his problem -- an
"ideal virtual machine" that "simplifies" the porting of software from
one type of hardware to another at the cost of speed of execution.
*Real* users have *real* problems, so they need *real* machines!
At the language level, I think there already is a common core. And I
think it's Smalltalk. At least that's the impression I get from hanging
out with Ruby hackers -- they seem to think Ruby will be Smalltalk when
it's done. :) I'm not sure there's a common core at the OS level yet --
the Windows kernel and all the Unix-alike kernels are fundamentally
different in a number of non-trivial ways. So that's the level where I
think there's the greatest opportunity for innovation -- a microkernel,
if you will, that can efficiently support Windows and Unix. To some
extent, the Xen hypervisor with the Intel hardware assists is close, as
is some of the work related to Dresden's DROPS project.
M. Edward (Ed) Borasky, FBG, AB, PTA, PGS, MS, MNLP, NST, ACMC(P)
If God had meant for carrots to be eaten cooked, He would have given rabbits fire.
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