[Ecls-list] Porting CL to new platforms: what can be reused?

Juan Jose Garcia-Ripoll juanjose.garciaripoll at gmail.com
Thu Apr 18 13:10:06 UTC 2013

On Wed, Apr 17, 2013 at 9:55 PM, Anton Vodonosov <avodonosov at yandex.ru>wrote:

> In theory CL core consists of 25 special operators + build-in data types.
> Everything else
> is a library. So when porting to a new platform, theoretically, all we
> need to reimplement
> is a compiler understanding 25 operators + some build-in functions
> representing datatypes
> (make-array, aref, cons, etc) and some basic reader, allowing to read the
> source code of the library.

That is indeed the theory. In practice much of the library deals with
operating system stuff: memory allocation, files, etc. That forces a low
level implementation of several core structures. Moreover, several
functions are critical for performance and are also hard-coded to make
bootstrapping faster.

> How close this theoretical view to practice? We now have several
> open-source CL implementations.
> If one wants to create a Javascript port, what else he must be prepared to
> solve?

ECL is pretty well isolated: the C library works like the lisp API and
offers a number of functions that one may start with. Many of those
functions could _nowadays_ be ported back to Common Lisp, using the fact
that the compiler is more efficient. But there are critical things, such as
the filesystem, running processes, or I/O operations, that would be hard to
implement from scratch.

Perhaps Christian could comment, given that he is using the ECL Common Lisp
base to implement a LLVM-based Common Lisp implementation


Instituto de Física Fundamental, CSIC
c/ Serrano, 113b, Madrid 28006 (Spain)
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