symbolics vlm and other stuff

Andrew J. Blumberg
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 00:09:10 -0500

a few things of general relevance ---

1) i'm very happy to see a bunch of excited lisp folks.  this is pretty
cool. . .

2) kalman reti is implementing something called the virtual lisp machine
(vlm) for symbolics.  this runs on a dec alpha and is a faithful replica of
the lisp machine os (genera).  it's pretty fast as it is, and there are
plans to put it native on top of the hardware.

any would-be lispos implementors out there should be clear on what will
differentiate their product from the vlm.

3) on the subject of lisp machines, i believe it is extremely important
that everyone involved in the lispos implementation understand in detail
why the lisp machine was so cool.  otherwise, you are doomed to rediscover
the wheel.

why solve problems that have already been solved?  make sure you know your
history.  the unix folks didn't, and look where it got them.  for you
virtual machine folks, take a look at the lisp machine microcode that the
lisp ran on top of; this might provide some inspiration.

to this end, i'll endeavor to see what i can do to make documentation
available.  getting real machine time is harder; there aren't that many
working lispm's available these days, although you could certainly buy the
vlm if you have access to an alpha.