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From memory (I think one of the dev's comments on HHVM or Hippy a while back) Hippy started after HHVM was already underway. Hippy was mostly a proof of concept, to see if PyPy would be a viable strategy for a PHP runtime. HipHop was more so the logical followup to HipHop... I think being forked from the HipHop interpreter they were using for development.

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