From a disciple of evolution

Archive for the ‘Domain-specific Languages’ Category

Parrot Virtual Machine, the Dream Grandeur

I came across an interesting post which compares the benchmarks of two virtual machines: Parrot and NekoVM. The post discussed various issues except the convenience that Parrot offers. There are, of course, various concerns and constraints and no one should deny them. However we need to prioritize these concerns. For few, performance might be the concern, whereas scalability, reliability, productivity in terms of time-to-market, etc are also valid criteria to consider. What is important is to understand the potential of Parrot and to apply it appropriately.Parrot

Application virtualization is one area, where Parrot can play very important role. Seamless integration of application-level resources is possible because Parrot is register-based virtual machine, unlike Java Virtual Machine which is based on stack operations. Hence resources can be managed better using Parrot, such that it would soar the overall utilization of resources. One needs the bulky OS virtualization environment with ‘minimal overhead’, just to run the applications. Instead applications themselves can be run in application virtualization environment, such that migration, instantiation, etc can be done on a light-weight basis. Probably the analogy between process and thread is applicable for OS virtualization and application virtualization, appropriately.

I am one of the believers of Parrot Virtual Machine, even though it has not come very far from where it had started and is humiliated sometimes. However the goal to integrate many languages (language run-times, to be precise) is very interesting. I don’t quite understand that why Parrot is still called the Perl6 VM. This is despite the fact that Parrot supports no language currently (including Perl6) and plans to support languages, along side Perl6.

In future, Parrot-like environments would become very useful, especially when domain-specific languages (DSL) would surface out. Ruby has already gathered some attention for this reason, whereas grammars would become first class citizens in Perl6. Imagine the world when lot many useful DSLs would need to interact with each other, such that each DSL has origin in different language and run-time.

Conclusion: (There has to be a conclusion of every discussion.) Despite failures and critique of the past and the present, Parrot VM is becoming more and more relevant for the future. All the best Parrot! One VM to rule them all!