Our Manifesto (Please Read)

Alaric B. Williams alaric@abwillms.demon.co.uk
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
>         again),

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]

> Cya,
> Ahmed

I like it,

Alaric B. Williams (alaric@abwillms.demon.co.uk)

   ---<## OpenDOS FAQ ##>---

Plain HTML: http://www.delorie.com/opendos/faq/

Fancy HTML: http://www.deltasoft.com/faq0000.html