Why [not] X?

Mike McDonald mikemac@titian.engr.sgi.com
Fri, 23 May 1997 14:54:31 -0700

>Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 20:19:51 +0100
>To: lispos@math.gatech.edu
>From: Cyber Surfer <cyber_surfer@wildcard.demon.co.uk>
>Subject: Re: Why [not] X?
>At 21:18 22/05/97 -0500, David Gadbois <gadbois@cyc.com> wrote:
>>   Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 16:24:00 -0700
>>   From: Mike McDonald <mikemac@titian.engr.sgi.com>
>>   Where's that browser running? If your machine is running a lisp
>>   based OS, I doubt Netscape is going to work too well. (Assuming
>>   only one machine. Having a second machine on the net just to run a
>>   C based browser is cheating!)
>[answering Mike first]
>Speaking for myself only, I don't see a problem with this.
>I _have to_ use a non-Lisp OS. Even if I chose Linux, I'd
>probably still use it via my NT machine, running an X Server.
>Anyone who has doubts about using the web as the user
>interface should take a look at ActiveDesktop. I'm just wondering
>it'll be possible to use traditional CGI techniques to extend the
>desktop. In theory, yes; there are alreay tools that let you do
>this for Java and Perl. Why not Lisp?

  I believe that I could build a lisp based system that used a web
browser as its only user interface. I also believe that for a large
chunk of apps, that it would function just fine. However, I haven't
seen how to build such a system that would work well for highly
interactive apps like editors, CAD programs, ... CGI isn't the answer.
It's basicly batch processing. Submit a request and wait for the
answer. It's too heavy weight for interactive tasks. Until I can
figure out how to do these types of apps, I'm unconvinced about using
HTML as the only UI.

>Web based tools make that possible, which may explain why so many
>mutually hostile groups all agree that the web is The Way To Go.
>Fight the web and we might only succeed in uniting them all against us.
>Martin Rodgers
>Enrapture Limited

  Heck, if we manage that, we'll really have accomplished something!
(Whether that'd be good or bad is a value judgement left up to the

  Mike McDonald