Standard Lisp VM Instruction Set

Bill House
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 12:01:33 -0700

Wow, lots of good ideas are being posted. I might as well post
my want list too. 

Which dialect to use -- CL, Scheme, etc.

On this topic I think that we ought to avoid concentrating on
any single Lisp or Lisp-like language and instead adopt a VM
instruction set (and attendant enabling technology) that
supports the whole family of Lisp dialects. Obviously, there
will be some issues there, but I think that in the process of
identifying them we will arrive at a workable set of trade-offs.
 The goal would be to allow users to elect to work in the
dialect that most suits their needs. 

A corollary of this is that we would be producing a VM spec that
would be much more suitable for creating some sort of UVM than
what is likely to be produced by the various competing vendors
(Sun, MS, IBM, et al). IMO, this would be a Good Thing.

Also, no matter whether the AgentBase VM becomes a part of
LispOS, if the LispOS VM instruction set is in the same ballpark
as AgentBase's, then LispOS will have at least one vendor with a
VM that makes LispOS programs portable to other platforms (and
vice versa). While much of the attraction of the LispOS idea is
its whole-scale integration, a VM architecture that allowed
LispOS-compatible VMs to be deployed elsewhere could allow the
LispOS effort to balance "Pure LispOS" with portability and
interoperability. I think this would also be a Good Thing.


Bill House
The views expressed are mine alone,
unless you agree with me.