The earliest interpreters read the program in line-by-line and interpreted each line as they were read in.

GOTO was a “problem”. It meant that the interpreter had to re-read certain lines and had to re-interpret those lines.

Quickly, it was realized that interpreters could be made more efficient.

First, interpreters just read all of the lines into memory, in a buffer.

Then, interpreters started to use “bytecodes”, but every interpreter used a different set of bytecodes. (The first one I remember seeing was Tiny Basic (

Then, they noticed that EVERY interpreter used a different set of bytecodes.

This was “standardized” and became a VM. I think that the first VM was in early Smalltalk (, but Java really popularized the concept with the JVM. Sun produced Java and backed/advertised the JVM.

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