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Re: [r6rs-discuss] Implementors' intentions concerning R6RS

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: [r6rs-discuss] Implementors' intentions concerning R6RS
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2007 10:50:18 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (gnu/linux)

Hi Neil,

Neil Jerram <address@hidden> writes:

> address@hidden (Ludovic Courtès) writes:

>>  With that goal in mind, the pure
>> interpreter approach is not sustainable
> ... but I don't see what you mean by this.

He, that was sort of a teaser.  ;-)

When I started using Guile, I was fully in sync with the "embeddable
library" approach, which means that I'd write, say, 75% of an
application in C, and then arrange to have the remainder written in
Scheme in an extensible fashion.

But I started really enjoying Scheme and wanting to write less C, more
Scheme.  So why bother writing C at all when I could avoid it?  Well,
for "performance reasons".  And what are those "performance reasons"?
The interpreter is pretty slow, which is definitely not due to inherent
limitations of the language, but to the implementation.

I'm convinced that it's possible to write a Scheme interpreter much
faster than ours.  So I think that's one route we should take in 1.9.
The next step would be to have a compiler (to byte code, to C,
whatever).  However, I think the interpreter should keep playing a
central role in Guile (because it always did, and because it's often
convenient to work with an interpreter), which is why I would consider
improving/rewriting the interpreter a major goal for 1.9.

Maybe we should start a discussion about what we'd like to see in 1.9?


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