[self-interest] Some question regarding SELF VM

Russell Allen mail at russell-allen.com
Tue Feb 9 03:43:05 UTC 2010


The short answer is that Self predates LLVM and Java, so when Self was first written those platforms weren't available.

It should certainly be possible to port Self to either LLVM or Java, and people have made attempts at hosting Self on Java and also Smalltalk in the past.  Apart from the substantial work in reimplementing all of the primitives, the parser etc the main issue has historically been a mismatch between the other VM's object models and Self - you either sacrifice flexibility or speed.  (You can see the same tradeoffs if you look at JRuby).

btw Smalltalk and Self are very similar languages - it is arguable that Self is a member of the broader Smalltalk family that includes Smalltalk-72 and Smalltalk-80 - and I would generally say that learning Smalltalk is a worthwhile thing to do in itself.

- Russell

On 08/02/2010, at 5:55 PM, smisra wrote:

> This may be a premature question. I should read all the papers on SELF before writing this, but I am just too curious. Why do we have a different SELF VM. From the few documents I read, I found that self helped improve the VM technology for java vm. Then why not use java VM? Or LLVM? I am just asking this because of the experience I had with the scratch VM recently. Well it's a smalltalk variant squeak, its a great system, but I was not able to use it in a simple game I created. The fact is the smalltalk makes it not so easy to integrate it with some other C++/JAVA system, and the maintainers of the language suggested me to learn smalltalk, which I am not so curious to do. Having a common VM platform may enable different users to use SELF objects from other programing language also. I am sure there is a solid reason for having a separate VM for self. ~Thanks 
> View this message in context: Some question regarding SELF VM
> Sent from the Self mailing list archive at Nabble.com.

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