Running Unix programs under LispOS

Mike McDonald
Fri, 02 May 1997 17:48:11 -0700

>Date: Fri, 2 May 1997 15:49:58 -0600
>From: "P. Srinivas" <>
>To: Mike McDonald <mikemac>
>Subject: Re: Running Unix programs under LispOS 
>Mike McDonald writes:

> >   I don't believe anyone was seriously suggesting that we reimplement
> > Unix in Lisp. I certainly wasn't. The idea is to start doing useful
> > work today on the part that don't need direct OS support. As more and
> > more of the system is functional and there's a need, replace services
> > provided by the Unix kernel with Lisp based ones. Not ones that
> > provide identical interfaces but better ones in terms of what lisp
> > wants. As an example, networking. We can start today by implementing a
> > generic networking layer in lisp that works on top of the existing
> > Unix socket/streams interface. Lisp apps would then be written to use
>     Now that is the problem. When we start with the initial choice of
>     working on UNIX, we will invariable making decisions based on
>     that goal. In the design of the generic networking layer, we tend
>     to make many commitments that would not be needed otherwise.
>     If we can come up with a very detailed design WITHOUT making
>     commitments because of the goal of running on UNIX, and then
>     try to glue it onto the existing UNIX with some
>     throw away glue layer. It might work. But there are many 
>     pitfalls. We probably are better of placing the generic layer
>     on a very small kernel (may be such as Flux toolkit) than the
>     full blown Unix.

  We will undoubtably make mistakes and false assumptions as we
proceed forward. But we have an advantage, we're writing software. If
we make a mistake, we can fix it. Just rewrite that portion. Heck,
people keep claiming lisp is really good at being modifiable. :-)

  Mike McDonald