Slow down!!

Mike McDonald
Sun, 27 Apr 1997 00:26:55 -0700

  I think everyone is in too big a hurry here. This discussion only
started, what, four days ago? Already people are talking about "binding
votes" and resource commitments. I think we need to come up with WHAT
we want to accomplish, WHY we want to accomplish that, HOW we think we
can succeed at that long before we start voting. As I see it, they are
still three camps in this discussion, the "let's build a better VM"
camp, the "I love Genera/Xerox1186 camp", and the "let's build a
better web server in lisp" camp. Let's take then one at a time. (In no
particular order.)

  First the VM camp, why do you want to invent another VM? How will it
be better than the existing ones? How are you going to beat the
existing ones? What advantage does your VM have that the other VMs
don't have that will make it the choice of the commercial world? (Do
you really think the JAVA camp is going to take anything you do
seriously? You're trying to play their game and they already have the
press, the venture capital, and the "mind share" of the industry.)

  Next, the LispM camp. What advantage will an integrated Lisp and OS
bring to the commercial world? How will your tightly integrated LispM
environment interoperate with the existing disjointed world? What has
change in the "real world" to make a LispM viable today? Or what are
you going to do different this time to win? (Cheap hardware isn't the
answer to your prayers. The other guys have that too.)

  Finally, the web server camp. What do you need a LispOS for inorder
to make a better web server? What do the current OSes do that prevents
you from building your better web server? How are you going to compete
with Netscape, Microsoft, IBM, and every other Tom, Dick, and Harry
that smell big bucks in the "Intranet" market?

  Personally, I'd like to have a PC LispM because of sentimental
reasons and it fits my personal needs. But I don't for one second
believe there's any chance of it being a commercial success. Of the
three, I think the better web server has the most chance os commercial
success. But I don't see why that can't be accomplished on top of the
existing OSes. (The more, the merrier!) If it's the distributed OS
portion, I'd suggest you look into the Beowolf project. Otherwise, use
what the OSes have to offer when it meets your needs and then bypass
it when it doesn't, like most commercial database companies do.

  Mike McDonald