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May. 28th, 2008 (UTC)

Oh, I know about Kylix (and how it's dead now), but that's not what I said: a libre GCC front-end, contributed back to the FSF and using that in their product (similar to how Xcode uses GCC).

I've used both "popular" free Pascal compilers, back then (find me!). FPK Pascal is kind of wacky, and is suffering from not having enough attention on its back-end (as in "it's not GCC"). It would need to open up and leverage the work of outside experts, I think (maybe use LLVM as a back-end, for example).

GNU Pascal is not too bad, but quite backward, having only very minimal support for Delphi, the most recent thing that's fully supported is Borland Pascal 7.0 (ISO Pascal is a useless joke, a teaching tool at best, nothing like ISO C or C++).

No, I think that in order to get enough traction, it would need to be the Delphi compiler, not a second-up, and only Borland has that power. I'd be very surprised if they did.

Don't underestimate what the VMs can do! Nowadays, the fastest VMs give native code a run for their money, and are even able to do better, in some cases. The biggest problem with both Java and C# is the garbage collection: using it can make some things faster, but you need five or six times as much memory to do the same work (got that from some paper that I can't locate now), so if that makes you dip into the swap, your performance goes down the toilet, but if you don't, it's actually excellent...

One excellent example that is very hard to do without a VM is inlining virtual method calls. Now, combine that with virtual method calls being one of the biggest pervasive overheads in Firefox (thus the so-called "deCOMtamination"!), and you can see how that could be made to go fast!

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