On Jan 9, 2018 13:41, "Mark Friedenbach via bitcoin-dev" <
The use of the alt stack is a hack for segwit script version 0 which has
the clean stack rule. Anticipated future improvements here are to switch to
a witness script version, and a new segwit output version which supports
native MAST to save an additional 40 or so witness bytes. Either approach
would allow getting rid of the alt stack hack. They are not part of the
proposal now because it is better to do things incrementally, and because
we anticipate usage of MAST to better inform these less generic changes.
If the goal is to introduce a native MAST output type later, what is gained
by first having the tailcall semantics?
As far as I can see, this proposal does not have any benefits over Johnson
Lau's MAST idea :
* It is more compact, already giving us the space savings a native MAST
version of the tail call semantics would bring.
* It does not need to work around limitations of push size limits or
* The implementation (of code I've seen) is easier to reason about, as it's
just another case in VerifyScript (which you'd need for a native MAST
output later too) without introducing jumps or loops inside EvalScript.
* It can express the same, as even though the MBV opcode supports proving
multiple elements simultaneously, I don't see a way to use that in the tail
call. Every scenario that consists of some logic before deciding what the
tail call is going to be can be rewritten to have that logic inside each of
the branches, I believe.
* It does not interfere with static analysis (see further).
* Tail call semantics may be easier to extend in the future to enable
semantics that are not compactly representable in either proposal right
now, by allowing a single top-level script may invoke multiple subscripts,
or recursion. However, those sound even riskier and harder to analyse to
me, and I don't think there is sufficient evidence they're needed.
Native MAST outputs would need a new witness script version, which your
current proposal does indeed not need. However, I believe a new script
version will be desirable for other reasons regardless (returning invalid
opcodes to the pool of NOPs available for softforks, for example).
I will make a strong assertion: static analyzing the number of opcodes and
sigops gets us absolutely nothing. It is cargo cult safety engineering. No
need to perpetuate it when it is now in the way.
I'm not sure I agree here. While I'd like to see the separate execution
limits go away, removing them entirely and complicating future ability to
introduce unified costing towards weight of execution cost seems the wrong
way to go.
My reasoning is this: perhaps you can currently make an argument that the
current weight limit is sufficient in preventing overly expensive block
validation costs, due to a minimal ratio between script sizes and their
execution cost. But such an argument needs to rely on assumptions about
sighash caching and low per-opcode CPU time, which may change in the
future. In my view, tail call semantics gratuitously remove or complicate
the ability to reason about the executed code.
One suggestion to reduce the impact of this is limiting the per-script
execution to something proportional to the script size. However, I don't
think that addresses all potential concerns about static analysis (for
example, it doesn't easily let you prove all possible execution paths to a
participant in a smart contract).
Another idea that has been suggested on this list is to mark pushes of
potentially executable code on the stack/witness explicitly. This would
retain all ability to analyse, while still leaving the flexibility of
future extensions to tail call execution. If tail call semantics are
adopted, I strongly prefer an approach like that to blindly throwing out
all limits and analysis.