bignums in a reflective system

Kalman Reti reti@RIVERSIDE.SCRC.Symbolics.COM
Tue, 13 May 1997 10:43 -0400

    Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 09:46 EDT
    From: Fare Rideau <>

    >>: Henry G. Baker
    >: Kalman Reti

    >>: I agree that complex numbers should _not_ be part of 'basic'/primitive
    >>: Lisp, but it should be possible to program them as a library package
    >>: on top.  Ditto for bignums.

    > You might want to reconsider on bignums.
    > A single large file on a big disk these
    > days overflows 32 bits in byte length.
    So what?

My point is that there are numeric values that you plausibly might need to store
or manipulate as part of the operating system which exceed the size of typical
lisp implementation fixnums, hence the basic system might want to contain them.
Another example is a universal time.  If you are going down to the bare hardware,
you have to decide how to store and manipulate things like file-size, creation-date

    I hope your don't mean that Get-file-length should be basic/primitive???
    In the reflective system we want, it won't be,
    so there's no problem with having it return a non-primitive type like bignums
    (or long long ints, for that matter).

    The trap: basic != standard.
    There can very well be a non-so-standard basic system
    used to build standard non-basic system on top...

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