Strangely Consistent

Theory, practice, and languages, braided together

A VM for 6model

Here's what I wrote in another post earlier this year:

[...] what makes me the most optimistic about the Perl 6 effort: after a few years of watching things evolve, I've noticed that while Perl 6 is being developed top-down on the outermost scale, it's actually a series of bottom-up projects that drive Perl 6 forwards.

Over the years, Perl 6 users have seen a descending sequence of components being replaced and improved, each one furthering our reach. It reads almost like a nursery rhyme, though with a positive spin:

And people have been talking about taking the obvious next step with this: building a runtime, or retrofitting an existing runtime, that would serve 6model better.

Today MoarVM is revealed. It's a VM for 6model.

Imagine taking all the lessons learned about Perl 6 and VMs, and factoring them into a project like this. jnthn's article goes on to list all the things that MoarVM does:

The really nice aspects of this can be read between the lines: MoarVM is lightweight, so it starts up faster than the JVM, and even before the real optimization and JIT work begins, its runtime performance already shows some promise.

There's no historical baggage, and there's not a sense that the project is fighting technical debt when moving forward. Since MoarVM is designed for nqp from day one — in a very real sense, MoarVM is an nqp backend — we're guaranteed both a nice direct focus on Rakudo, as well as the ability to support other higher-level languages long-term. Things are factored in a way that we can build Perl 6 on. Hard-earned VM lessons from 2001 up until today are coded into the foundation.

In other words, MoarVM reboots the whole VM idea for Perl, based on experience with Parrot, without many of the flaws of Parrot.

Of course, work is still very much ongoing on other backends as well. With nqp bootstrapped on the JVM, about to be bootstrapped on MoarVM, and likely running on JavaScript soon, we're looking at a very interesting 2013.