[FoRK] the fix is in? <rant> lang, os, etc. continued </rant>

Damien Morton dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Thu Dec 10 20:07:15 PST 2009

Personally I think the javascript-for-everything community will be
amongst the first to be put up against the wall and shot by future
energy-wastage tribunals.

On Fri, Dec 11, 2009 at 3:49 AM, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
> <rant>
> Okay, so here's the way I see it.
> Lots of movement on the JavaScript front these days.  the 1.7-onwards series
> with e.g. generators / etc., commonJS, narwhal, node.js, er.js, competitive
> work in the engine space (particularly v8) etc. --- all headed in the same
> direction --- not converging yet, different wrinkles in each.  But the
> trends seem clear:
>  - js is leaving the browser behind
>  - js is gearing up to become a general "systems programming language"
>  - js solves the adoption problem implicitly
>    - ubiquity - some variant runs everywhere
>    - familiarity - everybody's written a little bit
>    - *good enough* --- for just about anything?
>    - big dogs pouring resources on it
>  - but *can* it be made to be performant enough?
>    - most performance is architecture, not code paths
>    - can it be made to play nicely w/ native-code for fast paths?
>    - but of course:  it always *has* done exactly that!
> We're moving a meta-level up the technology stack, same sort of move as
> assembler-to-C.  With appropriate new engine technologies like V8, it's
> looking like js could be used for all but the very-close-to-metal apps.
>  Hell, node.js isn't even to version 0.2 and it already gives thin a run for
> its money;  I like where this is going.
> Don't get me wrong;  I've held my nose and done as little javascript as
> possible for years now, just like many of us.  It's got a lot of cons, not
> the least of which is bulk (node is ~2.5M by default on OSX, ugh;  compare /
> contrast w/ tiny Scheme VMs ala Wasp and Hedgehog.)  But:  perhaps it's time
> to acknowledge the writing on the wall...
> I'm not sure how I feel about all this, but I think it is what it is...  I'd
> like to see js evolve in the right direction --- tail recursion optimization
> a required feature, first-class continuation support, reified interpreter /
> vm / program state, cross-engine standardized FFI, etc.  I'm not sure it
> will get there.  (I'm not sure it has to, but...)  Those would provide a
> better substrate language for future systems.
> But maybe we don't need all that fancy stuff, maybe it's good enough as-is.
> I see a sort of stack evolving that looks something like this:
>  - interactive user shell (in e.g. javascript)
>  - javascript + runtime "user OS" / environment
>  - javascript VM (eventually bootstrapped)
>  - host OS
>  - bare-metal
> (Nb., the above looks a hell of a lot like the Inferno stack...  ala:
>  - interactive user shell (Inferno sh, in Limbo)
>  - Limbo + runtime Inferno "user OS" / environment
>  - Dis VM (eventually bootstrapped)
>  - host OS
>  - bare-metal
> Rather than continue down the road of dithering on substrate and vacillating
> between different toy implementations on different substrates, maybe I
> should just byte the bullet.
> Thoughts?  Is js the "next" *real* "systems programming" language?
> jb
> PS - for the progeddit trolls, should this get cross-posted and should you
> stumble upon this...  enjoy.  Please note the rant tags.  Take this w/ a
> grain of salt, and in context please.  Just musing out loud...
> </rant>
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