Stackless/microthreads merge news

Jeff Senn senn at
Wed May 17 15:11:09 CEST 2000

Christian Tismer <tismer at> writes:
> > In fact, he commented that making C itself stackless would be too hard
> > to really consider seriously and nobody in the community would
> > appreciate it at all.
> Yes. It would be hard to make portable.
> Instead, I'm trying to get rid of C and want
> to use a language where I can control stacks
> more easily. The last barrier in Stackless Python is
> to make a couple of internal functions stackless as well,
> but it is so hard in C that I need another bytecode
> interpreter to do that.
> Well, guess what that should be.

Hm -- I've been trying to find a way to explain the "stackless zen".

It seems that we all (people who write high level software) take the
program stack, as a method of flow control and messaging between
function invocation, as a given.  Really the stack is just another
data/object type -- not any more special than a queue or a heap...

Given our usually math notation, methods of functional composition and
early compiler/OS development I'm not surprised that the stack is
viewed so.  (Consider as a counter example how asynchronous circuit
design is done and microcode is developed)

IMHO this dependence on making the stack of higher importance has made
the implementation of multi-"threaded" operating systems complex and
limited the ways in which alternative approaches could reduce the
difficulty of implementation of async/parallel systems.

Anyway I hope this stimulates some thought...

Jeff Senn
MAYA Design -- Taming Complexity

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