project list

Luca Pisati
Fri, 02 May 1997 18:39:01 -0700

Tim Pierce wrote:
> 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
>           you).
>           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
>           flaws.
>         * 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.

I do not know about coordinating, but I can provide a lot
of real life experience on project #3 since my current job
is very similar to this (except that instead of a LispEnv
we do have a LispGraphicalEnv). I wonder if #3 shouldn't
be more cross-platform than just target UNIX.

Luca Pisati		       Voice:	 (310) 577-0518
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