I am running the bootstrap now with most of diagnostic information debug prints gone. (I should add a debug primitive). And man, it feels sllllooowww.
The thing which I puzzle a lot about lately is whether the compiler is slow, or the VM is slow, or both? Things against the VM: uses 64 bits for everything, doesn't compile type tags to some integer representation, hogs the memory therefor, matches too much on data structures and uses combinators and FFI for everything? Things against the compiler implementation: Wrong data structures and it generates just too much code! I use AST transforms for just about everything, that might have been a wrong choice.
Anyway, got the bootstrap release almost ready. Seems like at least another year's worth of work to get it into any acceptable shape.
That's another thought. This started out as a learning project, I firmly believe in doing stuff oneself because otherwise you're probably not even close to understanding what other people did. But what is the total effort which went into Haskell/ML each? Just adding up the numbers of all ML and Haskell distributions and all people involved: Around a few thousand man years?
(Ah well, doesn't change a lot. I knew the trade-offs, the target still just should be somewhere in between Java and Lua speed.)