Thursday, November 24, 2011

GNUstep Objective-C Runtime 1.6 Released

GNUstep Objective-C Runtime 1.6 features:
  • Compatibility with the new runtime APIs introduced with Mac OS X 10.7 / iOS 5.
  • Support for small objects (ones hidden inside a pointer). On 32-bit systems, the runtime permits one small object class, on 64-bit systems it permits 4. This is used by GNUstep for small NSNumber and NSString instances, and these are used by LanguageKit for message sending to small integers.
  • Support for prototype-style object orientation. You can now add methods, as well as associated references, to individual objects, and clone them. The runtime now supports everything required for the JavaScript object model, including the ability to use blocks as methods on x86, x86-64 and ARM.
  • Support for Apple-compatible objc_msgSend() functions for x86, x86-64, and ARM. Using these approximately halves the cost of message sending operations and results in a 10% smaller total binary size.
  • A fully maintained POSIX Makefile to make bootstrapping builds and packaging easier. This will be used automatically if GNUstep Make is not installed.
  • Improvements to the included LLVM optimisation passes. Testing on a 2.8GHz Xeon, a loop of 200,000,000 class messages took 0.8 seconds with all optimisations enabled (including speculative inlining). With -Os, the test took 2 seconds. With explicit IMP caching in the source code, the test took 1.2 seconds. For reference, the same test using the GCC Objective-C runtime took 11 seconds (when compiled with either Clang/LLVM or GCC).

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