Our Manifesto (Please Read)
Alaric B. Williams
Thu, 8 May 1997 18:11:20 +0000
> Ok, here is the first version of the manifesto. It's pretty crude and
> probably full of grammatical/spelling errors, however what's important
> is what it says (I can clean this up later). I wanted to get it out
> now to see what everyone thought, and to get any comments.
> What is in here is a direct result of information provided to me
> specifically for the manifesto, and items which seemed to be generally
> agreed upon. Thanks to Alaric B. Williams for providing me with
> some of the info on what I could assume we agree upon so far.
I hope everyone is happy with my analysis :-)
> If you post a request for a change, then I will wait for 2-3 days to
> see if any objections are forthcoming. And then majority rules
> (ie: if more people don't want the change than do want them, then
> the change is out). If there are no objections or comments regarding
> a proposed change, then I'll consider it as an implicit vote of
> approval and add it in.
I'd agree with that on constitutional grounds.
[humorous comments in brackets]
> Ok, without further ado here it is:
[drum roll, fades to picture of floating bearded head saying:]
> The LispOS Project Manifesto
> Our Goal
> To develop an operating system based on Lisp. An Operating
> system that from the ground up supports Lisp development
> and that is (mostly) written in Lisp. Support will mean
> both powerful tools for the development of Lisp programs,
> a Lisp interface, communication/functionality in terms of Lisp
> objects (to be manipulated as any other Lisp object),
> and efficient execution of Lisp programs. Furthermore
> this operating system will be capable of running binaries
> of other popular platforms such as WindowsNT/95
You may want to generalise that a bit beyond Lisp... the general VM thing
would be able to support what I'd call "modern higher-order languages",
> Why a Lisp Operating System?
> It is our hope, that once this operating system achieves wide
> distribution, people will not only see the inherent advantages
> of a truly well designed operating system serving as a helper,
> rather than a hinderance, but will also come to look upon Lisp
> as a truly capable language, and relieve it of its unjust reputation
> once and for all.
[fades to pictures of happy, handsome, workers in fields, then to
them returning home to beautiful wives and smiling children]
> We will start small and work our way up. Currently there are
> 2 branches of work. One is on a Lisp Virtual Machine, for the
> efficient execution of Lisp (and possibly other dynamic languages).
Emphasising dynamicity a bit more would be good, I think. Dynamicness is
far easier to implement when you've been thinking about it from the start!
> Why You Should Help
> Tragically, C/C++ remain the development languages of choice,
> despite strong evidence of their woeful inadequacy for non-trivial
> software projects. Studies have been conducted comparing
> C/C++ with other languages (including Lisp) which have demonstrated
> that using Lisp led to projects that were on schedule, on budget,
> and on the whole more reliable than C/C++. However, despite the
> obvious superiority of Lisp, it has not achieved the widespread
> support that it deserves -- widespread support that could finally
> eliminate the Software Crisis.
[Scenes of C programmers being tortured in hell - amidst screams of
"Null pointer! Null pointer!" from little red demons]
> Lisp development will not only make programming a much more enjoyable
> task for programmers (imagine never having to chase a NULL pointer
Hmmm - I'd pick a more emotive and common case than NULL pointers.
Wild pointers? Checking loop termination conditions when you could have
used tail recursion (I find thinking of subdividing a problem much easier
than thinking about loop indexing!)?
> but it will reduce costs for the end user, and advance
> the state of the art. Now development will occur using Lisp
> as the base, rather than an already outdated language like C/C++.
> More powerful languages and paradigms will result, and as a result
> of that -- more powerful programs.
[cheering stadium full of people, victorious soldiers marching in]
I like it,
Alaric B. Williams (email@example.com)
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