Erlang on LLVM? or: Outsource your JIT!

Has anyone been working on using [LLVM][1] to do just-in-time code generation for the [Erlang][2] virtual machine?

Depending on the design and structure of the Erlang virtual machine, it doesn’t seem like it would be all that tough a project. And it could provide a nice performance boost for those projects that are starting to use Erlang like [CouchDB][3] and [ejabberd][4].

For an example of what I’m talking about, there’s a project called [VMKit][5] that has implemented the Java and .NET virtual machines atop LLVM with reasonable performance. Essentially, if you have a virtual machine, rather than skipping either just-in-time or static code generation entirely, or trying to do it all yourself for some specific platform on which you want to run, take a look at what you can do with LLVM and see if you can leverage its code generation instead.


Steve Yegge describes what’s wrong with Lisp

Steve Yegge, Lisp is Not an Acceptable Lisp:

You’ve all read about the Road to Lisp. I was on it for a little over a year. It’s a great road, very enlightening, blah blah blah, but what they fail to mention is that Lisp isn’t the at the end of it. Lisp is just the last semi-civilized outpost you hit before it turns into a dirt road, one that leads into the godawful swamp most of us spend our programming careers slugging around in. I guarantee you there isn’t one single Lisp programmer out there who uses exclusively Lisp. Instead we spend our time hacking around its inadequacies, often in other languages.

Steve does a very good job of articulating a lot of the things I dislike about Lisp, especially Common Lisp. One interesting thing, though, is that a lot (but not all) of the issues he raises are addressed by Dylan.

One of the more interesting things about Dylan in this context is that, despite not adopting a traditional message-based object system like Smalltalk or Objective-C (or their more static cousins C++ and Java), Dylan does push objects all the way down, but in a functional style. It appears to work pretty well, making it easy to define both nouns and verbs in the combinations a developer might need, and even (through its hygienic macro system) allow developers to extend language syntax too.