Battle of the VMs

There are a lot of virtual machine interpreters out there. Java was the first well-known one, but VMs are also used for .NET, OCaml, Python, and the new Parrotcode VM will likely be used for Perl 6.

I started a discussion on the OCaml mailing list about some other bytecodes OCaml could target, with very interesting results. OCaml interpreters or compilers already exist for both Java and .NET.

There’s more to this than meets the eye, though. There are many different languages supported by .NET even though the .NET CLR does not lend itself to many of them very well. There are also a number of languages supported by the Java JVM, and Parrot is looking to support a good number, too. So it appears that no VM is going to promise the mythical language convergence .NET was talking about. Rather, we’re going to have too many choices. I wish we could standardize on a single VM and go with that.

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