Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A Future History of Arming Bears

As part of the ongoing Online Lisp Meeting series, a recording of a talk about ABCL with the following precis is now available online:

With the recent releases of Armed Bear Common Lisp over the past six months, the future of extending the implementation has come into sharper focus.  The majority of this work has occurred within the head of one individual with little chance for public review and reflection. We believe that our externalized exposition of the reasoning behind these efforts will be of interest to those interested in the future history of Common Lisp implementations.

In the past few months, we released abcl-1.6.0 in which we extended the set of underlying Java Virtual Machines (JVM) that the implementation runs on to include openjdk11 and openjdk14 while maintaining compatibilty with openjdk6.  With the internal overhaul or arrays specialized on unsigned bytes in abcl-1.7.0, we made it possible to share such byte vectors with memory allocated outside of the hosting JVM via system interfaces such as malloc().  

We first present a brief prehistory on the Armed Bear Common Lisp Implementation.  Then, we first present the goals and challenges in affecting these changes within the ABCL codebase by showing examples from recent experience.  Then, we use this initial exposition to serve as a springboard to discuss outstanding needed changes in the ABCL 1 branch, and to outline some of the features intended to be present in ABCL 2, due to be released in the Fall of 2020.

A revised version of the notes for the presentation is available for deeper, asynchronous reflection. 

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