symbolics vlm and other stuff

Mike McDonald
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 18:53:56 -0700

>Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 00:09:10 -0500
>From: "Andrew J. Blumberg" <>
>Subject: symbolics vlm and other stuff
>a few things of general relevance ---
>1) i'm very happy to see a bunch of excited lisp folks.  this is pretty
>cool. . .

  Yup. I think I'm going to have to get a bigger disk to hold all of
this Email if this keeps up for much longer. :-)

>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.

  It'd be free, available on something other than DEC alphas, source
would be included, ...

>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.
>								regards,
>								     andrew

  One of the problems with studying the Symbolics is intellectual
property rights. Afterall, we wouldn't want to be lumped in with 
TI! :-) (In days of yore, Symbolics kept complaining that TI would
steal all of their good ideas.) If we could study Genera without
pissing you guys off, that would be a major help, from my point of

  Mike McDonald