project list

Tim Pierce
Fri, 2 May 1997 19:09:07 -0500 (CDT)

Here is a possible breakdown of the LispOS group into working
groups.  Comments welcome, but I would like to see these projects
start to crystallize quickly.

	* Ground-up kernel design.

	  Hack a Lisp to operate as the kernel for a system
	  toolkit (or e.g. a process server for a microkernel).
	  The most popular option seems to have been using the
	  Flux OS kit and linking it with a Lisp or Scheme to
	  create a minimal kernel, but this could also be the
	  design of a Lisp personality for the Hurd as some have
	  suggested.  It depends on how much labor and resources
	  are available, and the skills and enthusiasm of the
	  people involved.

	* A hacked Unix kernel (Linux, FreeBSD, or what have

	  Begin with a minimally running Unix system (as opposed
	  to a non-self-hosting toolkit or microkernel).  Link the
	  kernel with a Lisp and begin throwing away undesired
	  Unix facilities, rewriting them in Lisp (or modifying
	  them to use Lisp facilities) along the way.  This system
	  differs from the first in that it would probably start
	  booting immediately, but some are concerned about the
	  ultimate system suffering from too many inherited Unix

	* Lisp environment on top of a complete Unix system.

	  This approach would make minimal changes to the Unix
	  kernel and/or tools and would focus instead by providing
	  a complete Lisp application and development environment
	  to run entirely on top of an existing Unix system.  The
	  Lisp world could even conceivably run entirely in user
	  space, and merely translate user requests for services
	  into the underlying Unix calls and processes.  It might
	  dominate the system (requiring a lot of concessions to
	  get Lisp to run efficiently) but may also permit
	  Lisp-Unix cooperation.

These three projects roughly encompass the different perspectives
expressed on the LispOS list recently.  I don't think that there
are any significant omissions, but may be wrong.

Can we have volunteers for project coordinators?  I will volunteer
for the first if no one else does -- someone with more system
hacking experience should probably take the lead, but it is
important for someone to step in.