LispOS: LispEnv or Tunes?

Kelly Murray kem@Franz.COM
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 14:12:24 -0700

> 1) people who want some Lisp Environment quick,
>  where everything a user needs could be done in Lisp.
I will dub it "Virtual Lisp Machine"  (VirtualLM)

> 2) people who'd like to found a clean Operating System
>  not restricted to a particular flavor of Lisp
I will dub it "Real Lisp Machine" (RealLM)

> These projects look both very useful to me,
> though they seem quite distinct.

I believe they are distinct in terms of individual efforts,
but are very much complementary.  I believe the VirtualLM is what
adds the most value in the web marketplace, and thus where it
the focus should be.
Having the RealLM will make the VirtualLM runs a whole lot more efficient,
faster, and better, more integrated, wipe out lots of UNIXisms.
This RealLM is really cool!   But not of great value in the real
world, because it isn't doing much that can't be done already,
albiet more painful, etc.  If the VirtualLM exists to run on it,
then it DOES add significant value. 

Again, my vision is to have ONLY a web-browser interface to this SilkOS.
Why? Because that means anything developed with it
is immediately, by definition, deployable on the web.
That is what has value in the marketplace, not Lisp or objects itself.
It is this high productivity to deploy on the web which is key.

Again, I will say this is a somewhat narrow focus in the big picture.
It represent only, say, 20% of all software written maybe.
That is billions of dollars!  This is "our" niche.  It beats the hell
out of the one we have now!

Just another LispM development platform doesn't buy us much
in the marketplace.  Since we'll require end-customers to buy this
hardware/software to use the applications, OR we then have to
have some other delivery or deployment mechanism.
The JVM isn't going to fix this, certainly not for Lisp,
and I believe it also isn't going to work very well for JAVA either.
If one believes it will work and will take over the world, then Lisp
has little value to add.  Why have some wierd Lispy syntax and a complete
different development environment to write JAVA programs other than
JAVA developement environments themselves?
This is the real way to isolation.
We'll just be the same group of Lisp nerds, just adapting ourselves
to a new set of constraints.  

If one believes JAVA is really going to "take over",
then the really smart developer will just join the bandwagon.
They don't need no stinken LISP!  They've got JAVA.
And don't tell me we can change the JVM to make it work great for Lisp.
If you believe that, you are crazier than I am.

I think JAVA is far from a proven success, and believe
they will at least falter if not fail, fail at least the same sense
that C++ has failed.   Our opportunity is to show all that we've been
able to do with Lisp while the others are all bickering and fighting,
and trying to make JAVA really work.
We already have something that works, we just need to apply it
where it creates value.

-kelly murray