Our Manifesto (Please Read)

Cyber Surfer cyber_surfer@wildcard.demon.co.uk
Wed, 07 May 1997 15:44:34 +0100

At 01:47 07/05/97 -0500, you wrote:
>At 8:19 PM -0500 5/6/97, cosc19z5@bayou.uh.edu wrote:
>>        this operating system will be capable of running binaries
>>        of other popular platforms such as WindowsNT/95
>I think emulation should not be mentioned in the "goals" section -- is our
>goal to build something that emulates (whatever other OS we want), or is
>our goal to build a Lisp Operating System?

Agreed. Win32 emulation sounds like a dumb idea to me,
as the Win32 API seems to be expanding faster than a
supernova. Your work would never end! If your emulation
can only be a subset, will that be enough? If you want the
full API, first take a look at the size of that API before you
commit any resources. It could easily change your mind!

IMHO we shouldn't bother with emulating lesser systems,
like Unix or Windows. They'll only distract us from the real
objective, which is a LispOS.

>Wherever emulation is mentioned, I believe it should be mentioned as a
>possibility and not as a definite outcome, and that Windows should not be
>mentioned as an emulation target.  (If anything, I think the statement
>should be very general:  "This operating system may also be capable of
>running binaries for other popular platforms, if appropriate emulation
>technology is developed.")

If we say anything, it should only be for a subset. I'm not sure
that a claim for full Win32 emulation may be possible, even in
Lisp. It might not even be desirable! MS appear to be commiting
huge resources to "out featuring" everybody. This is a race that
we're unlikely to keep up with, nor are we likely to convince many
people that we could do it, even if _we_ believe that we can.

Consider this: who defines what Win32 is? It may well be MS,
and they won't necessarily wish to share a Win32 spec with us,
if such a thing exists. The compatibility problems between the
two MS implementations of Win32 are bad enough. If MS can't
make it work, are we sure that we _can_?

Lisp isn't the issue here, but a details spec may be. Either no
such thing exists, or the two OS teams won't cooperate, or MS
simply aren't interested in making NT and Win95 compatible.
Regardless of the reality, users of these systems are suffering
from the lack of compatibility, and in their eyes, we may have
less credibility than MS, IBM, and Sun.

In other words, take care with statements! We could blow our
credibility with goals like unqualified Win32 emulation. Even if
we actually achieve it, any prior bad experiences with non-Lisp
implementations/emulations of Win32 may damage our image.

Martin Rodgers
Enrapture Limited
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