[Self-interest] future of the Self VM

Slava Pestov sviatoslavpestov at gmail.com
Mon Aug 2 01:08:23 UTC 2021

On Sat, Jul 31, 2021 at 10:42 PM Jecel Assumpcao Jr <jecel at merlintec.com> wrote:
> I would mention that a very significant reason Self never became popular
> was that it didn't run on machines people had (a problem shared with
> nearly all the Unix clones that came before Linux). This was why many
> people wrote their own Self variations or Self inspired languages in the
> early days. I actually bought a Sun Ultra 5 machine in 1998 (the most
> money I have spent in my life so far) so I could continue to use Self
> after I moved away from the University. Just a few years later with Self
> running on PowerPC Macs and later x86 Macs and Linux machines people
> could finally try Self. Sadly, they didn't because of the silly idea
> that only things coming out right now are worth looking into. With
> everybody moving to x86-64 and now also Apple ARM we are back where we
> started! So how do we fix this?

This anecdote makes me wonder. Since a modern machine is so much
faster than a Sun Ultra 5, would it make sense to consider a simpler
implementation strategy for Self, such as a bytecode interpreter?
Would it be possible to make it fast enough for the UI to be
responsive, on modern hardware?


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