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Re: Reviving Guile-VM

From: Neil Jerram
Subject: Re: Reviving Guile-VM
Date: Tue, 03 May 2005 19:31:17 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.7) Gecko/20050420 Debian/1.7.7-2

Ludovic Courtès wrote:

QScheme [1] has apparently been abandoned since 2000, and it looks like
its VM has never been fully functional.  Guile-VM seems much more mature
actually.  However, that of STklos is fully functional and it seems to
be pretty close to Guile-VM (similar instruction set).

Cool, sounds like you're well on top of the field.

Hang on, I thought the instructions were byte code ...  How many
levels of byte code are there, and how do they differ?

Bytecode is just the binary representation of a sequence of
instructions, no more.

However, the compiler does use _two_ intermediate languages when
compiling Scheme to VM "assembly":

  Scheme -> GHIL -> GLIL -> assembly

(where GHIL stands for "Guile's High-level Intermediate Language" and
GLIL stands for "Guile's Low-level Intermediate Language").  The former
is pretty close to Scheme while the latter is closer to the VM's
assembly.  I think the goal was to make Guile-VM easily usable for other
languages as well.  Fun.  ;-)

So where is the "biggest" jump here? Would it be correct to say something like GHIL is a good target for all Lisp-like languages; and GLIL is a more general target that allows for more different languages?


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