Is it too late for Parrot VM?

by Niclas Nilsson on Sep 21, 2007 |

The Parrot Virtual Machine recently had it’s sixth birthday. Parrot is an open source VM that’s being developed closely together with Perl6, but it is a multi-language VM and it targets a lot of other languages. Its primary goal is to be a good VM for dynamic languages, but more unexpected languages like C99 is running on Parrot and there is a .NET bytecode translator.

But six years is a long time, and meanwhile the .NET Dynamic Language Runtime has arrived and Java is adding better and better support for dynamic languages. The problem is that none of 50 current language implementations on top of Parrot seems to be complete, and people start to loose hope of 1.0 ever seeing the light of day. And if Parrot doesn’t become complete soon - will there be enough people around to care at that point, or will all the momentum of portable multi-language platforms have gone to the JVM or maybe even the .NET CLR/DLR?

The JVM hosts more than 200 languages already and .NET platform is closing in on Parrot with about 40 language implementations currently. With Java going open source as well, the Parrot project need to hurry up or risk loosing the race before they even left the starting blocks. Or is Parrot already too late?

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Probably by Dan Tines

It might be too late for Parrot and Perl6. On a side note, I would quibble over more than 200 languages. Take a closer look at that list.

Parrot is too late, as well as Perl 6 by Guo Pei

Parrot is absolutely too late for what it targets. The same thing with Perl, two things happened in those 6 years: 1) The world of language has progressed really fast without Parrot, and its original design most likely obsoleted in some areas; 2) Maybe the design of Parrot also changed to keep up with the trend, however that means its design is no longer consistent.

For Perl 6, the big question is how many people still care. Not many, other than hardcore Perl guys. It lost its speed for long, and 6 years ago there were still many want to revive it, but even those ones have faded away in 6 years.

Perl 6 won't be a bad choice for those who have been with Perl forever, because it is probably easier to take on.

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