historical clarification

Richard Stallman rms@gnu.org
Wed, 17 Jan 2001 13:18:28 -0700 (MST)

    Ahem. Are these events documented somewhere?
    What was the contents of the ultimatum? What was the occupation?

See the book Hackers, by Steve Levy.

    Did Greenblatt actually decide to found LMI afterwards,

LMI had existed for around 2 years already.

    At the time, what were the legal stances of Symbolics, the MIT, LMI, you,
    and other Lisp hackers, about the distribution of Lisp Machine code?

MIT had licensed it to both LMI and Symbolics, as proprietary
software.  This is one of the reasons why I stopped working on it and
started the GNU Project instead.

So your signature is not entirely accurate.

Aside from that, the idea of "mandate of heaven" supposes there are
gods that direct the world based on an idea of justice.  This absurd
idea leads people to figure that the gods will make sure justice
happens, so people can relax.  There is no basis for this belief.

    If you feel it was a success, what factors made you switch
    to such a completely different system as UNIX?

My work was a success for the goal I had in mind: punishing Symbolics.
But it did nothing to create a new free software community.  For one
thing, the Lisp machine software was not free.  But even if it had
been, it only ran on Lisp machines.

    What recommendations would you make to free software LISP hackers?

At this point, I think it is best to use Scheme rather than other
dialects of Lisp.  The more free software programs use Scheme (or
other Lisp dialects) for extensibility, the more the love of Scheme
will spread.

    There seems to have been some vague influence, with elisp being part of
    GNU Emacs, with GCC internals being remindful of a LISPy constraint solver,
    with the GNU recommendations of "no arbitrary limits".

Yes, in details like that.

    I supposed there could also have been some reverse-influence,
    with your avoiding in GNU things that you learnt from LISP experience
    were bad?

Right.  My experience with the Lisp machine convinced me that
object-oriented programming is not really as wonderful a thing as it
is cracked up to be.