LispOS: LispEnv or Tunes?

Bill House
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 22:03:32 -0700

Kelly Murray wrote:
> 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.
Pardon my saying so, but this seems somewhat sideways from what I'm thinking. 

1. I don't believe anyone expects to change (or run on) the JVM. Instead, I'd
like to borrow their approach to attaining Ubiquity (i.e. a browser-embeddable
VM) and perhaps support real-time translation of their bytecodes into the
native wordcode format of a Lisp VM (this as a non-core feature). That's very
different from the Lisp-on-JVM approach.

2. There are things you can do with Lisp (particularly a Lisp that includes
native support for persistence) that one cannot do as well in Java. Insofar as
people want to do those things, they don't have a suitable language that can be
deployed in the same manner as Java (i.e., a browser-embedded VM). This creates
a niche.

3. This web server SilkOS idea (cool name) seems to be just a LispM with HTTP
support. It's not much different (if at all) from what you can already do today
with existing Lisp products.  Unfortunately, all by itself, it has no ability
to distribute processing to the client, or to support mobile agents between
client and server (unless it serves up Java). Why not have it collaborate with
a browser-embedded Lisp VM instead?

As for Java "taking over", that sounds like confusing language issues with the
importance of integration, packaging and delivery systems. IMO, if <whatever>
had been given a GUI-building extension and hosted in Navigator and MS
Explorer, we'd all be talking about the <whatever>VM. It's the packaging and
delivery system and portable GUI abstractions that make Java successful. The
language has next to nothing to do with it.

Bill House
The views expressed are mine alone,
unless you agree with me.