Advantages of a Lisp VM versus a Lisp OS

Dwight Hughes
Sat, 26 Apr 1997 01:15:57 -0500

Michael Korns brings up a number of reasonable, if a bit hard nosed, points <g>. 

The various commercial aspects are not of direct interest to me at present but could
certainly open doors to technology and info we otherwise would not have access to. And to PEOPLE
-- potential for profit is a dandy motivator. As we decide what it is we want to do we 
should remember that it is very important that this be *USED* and *USEFUL*.

The danger would be possibly constraining the project to less than it could be if we make
compromises that have more to do with commercializability than "doing the right thing".

However, technically, creating a LispVM need not necessarily conflict with the notion of a LispOS.
The VM could encompass the functionality of the OS if we wanted to generalize things, and it would
certainly make the results far more useful and interesting to more people (and make the project more
easily developed from the first stages). This could then be made into versions that ran on the bare metal
at later point in the development of the project.

Another thought: a well designed LispVM could later be used to create specialized hardware that replaces
the VM -- much as Sun has done for Java. Hello Lisp machine -- for *real*, and potentially affordable too!

LispVM based "network computers" -- what a notion. A Lisp machine on every desk, now that I could

While I want to have the LispOS in its pure native state, it would be far better to also have it on every
machine I use, whatever the native OS. You would never have to leave home, so to speak.