Web-Lisp? Oh no!

Fri, 2 May 1997 05:51 -0500

    Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 03:01 CDT
    From: Cyber Surfer <cyber_surfer@wildcard.demon.co.uk>

    >-*- Soapbox: On; Flame: Medium-Rare -*-

    Asbestos suits for everyone! <g>

Nah, you guys aren't in my line of fire; my flames were for the
implementors of the WWW.

    If you dump HTTP/HTML, you'll only alienate yourself. There's too
    much market pressure IMHO for that to work without committing
    massive resources - which we don't have. Even MS might have
    some difficulty doing this, and it looks to me like they're trying.

I don't see that this is necessarily true; certainly it would be true if
we totally dumped HTML and HTTP and provided no way to be compatible,
but I don't see why, if we gave people a language they could use that
was undeniably superior to HTML (and easier to use, and easier to write
authoring programs for, and therefore more featureful and easier to use
authoring programs), I don't see why we should necessarily fail.  I
don't think anyone out there is `in love with' HTML, so I don't see why
anyone would -resent- someone trying to replace it.  It's just that a
replacement would have to be undeniably superior in order for people to
care enough to bother taking a look at it.

Take a look at Kelly Murray's recent post re: SilkScript for an
outstanding example.  

    If they can't do it, are we in a position to do better? This isn't about
    "Lisp vs C++", it's about "us vs everyone else". I think that we're
    out-gunned on _that_ front. It could easily be a waste of our precious
    resources. Can we afford that? Hmm.

I was trying to inject a visionary idea into the proceedings here, not
suggest something that we should immediately begin committing vast
resources to.  The OS project is much more important and interesting,
definately, but attacking the WWW front is something we should think
about (from the looks of it, Kelly has been doing an awful lot of
thinking about it -- much more than I).

There does seem to be some interest in a Lisp-based web browser; I think
this would give us an excellent vehicle in the future to proceed to
replace the WWW.

    Alas. The tough question is how to we proceed? I think that's what
    we've all been asking ourselves, here on this list. There are technical
    issues, but the matter of the general direction we take is as much
    a marketing issue as a purely technical one. Are we creating a LispOS
    just for ourselves, or do we want a commercial product, one that will
    perhaps convince the world that Lisp Means Business (and not just
    for vertical markets, either).

I like the idea of Computing For The Masses, I just want the Masses to
have all the same kinds of powerful software that I'm accustomed to.  I
really hate the current crop of Consumer Computers.

I want a LispOS that not only would I be perfectly comfortable in (when
not using my LispM), but that Joe User would also be comfortable in.
I'm sick of not being able to get a decent job in the computer industry
because the computer industry is still living in the ice age.

    Alternately, we could just use Lisp because we can, and not worry about
    being commercial. After all, it worked for Linux, and some people _are_
    using it commercially. However, I suspect that at least a few of us would
    like to help make people's perception of Lisp a little more positive. That
    could give Lisp in general a stronger position, which would be good for
    all of us, would it not?

    If it's true that Lisp Means Business, and I think it does, then which
    business will it be? Know thy enemy, know thy market. Exploit both.
    Otherwise, just do it Because You Can.

Definately.  Let's do it.  I like Tim Pierce's plan of action.  We need
to start focusing on details, divide into sub-groups, create a roadmap
that the subgroups can follow to maintain some cohesion so that future
integration of the various groups' projects will be relatively painless.

Without focus and direction we will never ever get anywhere.

Thanks for your comments, Martin.