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Matt Campbell wrote:
Is it even worthwhile to compare benchmark results from these two VMs? Consider that Lua and V8 have very different design goals. V8 is designed to be fast while staying compatible with a huge body of code written in a language that has been heavily influenced by marketing (Netscape wanting to ride the Java wave in 1996) and competition (multiple, somewhat incompatible implementations), but the VM's implementation size probably isn't much of a concern. In contrast, Lua has always had a single implementation (not counting experimental implementations that probably don't get much real-world use), backward compatibility going back several versions isn't a hard requirement, and the language design hasn't been compromised for marketing reasons -- but implementation size is a major concern. Even the upcoming version 2 of LuaJIT will stay small, based on what Mike Pall told us some months ago. So Lua and V8 seem to have very different design constraints, though both are aiming to be fast. We should expect the results to be very different.

You're mostly right, of course. I think most of us don't consider benchmarks the be-all and end-all of things. Problem is, it's really inconvenient to be putting up all those disclaimers like, "subject to the usual caveats, this is an artificial setup, etc." each time someone discusses any benchmarks. I think we should assume we are all matured enough to know all about this... unless, a person behaves in so extreme a manner that we fear that his or her judgment is impaired. I don't think that's the case here.

In this case, I think such benchmarks (as in the OP) are useful as ballpark indicators, as it gives an indication of how fast a lean JIT can be for a scripting language. I think a lot of us is interested in the cutting edge. And we'll be discussing a lot of Javascript too, because it's becoming sort of an arms race thereabouts and a lot of resources are being poured into the game.

Kein-Hong Man (esq.)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia