Language Size (was: RE: [TLUG]: ECMAScript ("Javascript") Version 4 - FALSE ALARM)

Thomas Reilly treilly at
Tue Oct 30 15:52:04 PDT 2007

I'm sure!  I wasn't being completely serious.  We've learned that when
you design something for the desktop its really hard to retrofit it for
smaller devices, much better to start out small and tweak it to take
advantage of the desktop's resource largesse.  We also find that it
almost never happens that way ;-)  Given that my MacBookPro's kernel
task is taking 200MB if my iphone is really running OS X then I'd say
the Apple engineers did some serious squeezing to get the OS and
applications/graphics all running in 128mb.

+1 on real language size/implementability discussions.   Nothing more
real, relevant and telling than having an es4 compiler written in es4
making use of as many language features as possible, luckily we're
working just such a thing.  How many lines of code is it?   How much
memory does it take to compile itself on the RI, on Tamarin?  How fast
can it compile itself?  How big is the resulting abc? 

Sure we'll start out with poor #'s and we can't even answer some of the
questions but it'll be good to know where we're starting from.

I wish there was a language shootout page that tracked these metrics for
platforms/languages with self hosting compilers.  Does anyone have any
ancedotal data?   

-----Original Message-----
From: Maciej Stachowiak [mailto:mjs at] 
Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:51 PM
To: Thomas Reilly
Cc: Chris Pine; Steven Johnson; es4-discuss
Subject: Re: [TLUG]: ECMAScript ("Javascript") Version 4 - FALSE ALARM

On Oct 30, 2007, at 1:45 PM, Thomas Reilly wrote:

> I've heard its got 128MB with 11mb of memory reserved for the display,

> add 620 mghz processor, 8 GB disk, fp and integer SIMD units.  Does 
> this still qualify as an embedded device?  It probably sports virtual 
> memory for cying out loud (backed up by claims of a native SDK on the 
> horizon).
> Personally I think they should lose to java coprocessor and add more 
> cache.
> The iphone could probably run a poorly written, bloated, interpreted
> ES4
> implementation well enough to run most web pages.

I can't talk about the details of the iPhone's hardware but I can tell
you that iPhone and iPod touch do not have room for significantly more
runtime memory use or code footprint. Getting WebKit (pretty small for a
browser engine) to run was hardly a cakewalk.

In any case, I'm not trying to spread FUD here. I'd honestly like to get
some estimates of language size and implementability. I'm going to put
my money where my mouth is and do the counts I suggested.


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