[LLVMdev] LLVM IR is a compiler IR

Chris Lattner clattner at apple.com
Tue Oct 4 17:08:54 PDT 2011

On Oct 4, 2011, at 4:56 PM, Talin wrote:

> > LLVM isn't actually a virtual machine. It's widely acknoledged that the
> > name "LLVM" is a historical artifact which doesn't reliably connote what
> > LLVM actually grew to be. LLVM IR is a compiler IR.
> It sounds like you're picking a very specific definition of what a VM is.  LLVM certainly isn't a high level virtual machine like Java, but that's exactly the feature that makes it a practical target for C-family languages.  It isn't LLVM's fault that people want LLVM to magically solve all of C's portability problems.
> I understand that the official goals of the LLVM project are carefully limited. A large number of LLVM users are perfectly happy to live within the envelope of what LLVM provides. At the same time, there are also a fair number of users who are aiming for things that appear to be just outside that envelope. These "near miss" users are looking at Java, at CLR, and constantly asking themselves "did I make the right decision betting on LLVM rather than these other platforms?" Unfortunately, there are frustratingly few choices available in this space, and LLVM happens to be "nearest" conceptually to what these users want to accomplish. But bridging the gap between where they want to go and where LLVM is headed is often quite a challenge, one that is measured in multiple man-years of effort.

I completely agree, and I'm really interested in LLVM improving to solve these sorts of problems.  I'm not sure how this relates to Dan's email or my response though.

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