Why LispOS?

William Barnett-Lewis wlewis@mailbag.com
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 18:58:17 -0600

Mike McDonald wrote:

> >To: lispos@math.gatech.edu
> >Subject: Why LispOS?
> >Date: Tue, 24 Mar 1998 14:58:54 -0800
> >From: Fred Gilham <gilham@csl.sri.com>
> >Perhaps this has been discussed before, but I'm curious about why
> >people want LispOS.  What do we expect it to do for us that just
> >running some lisp system on unix won't?
>   Well, I think people have gotten carried away with the OS
> part. There's a belief that memory management and scheduler HAVE to be
> written in Lisp for a "LispOS". Sure, given time and EXPERIENCE,
> that'd be nice. But I think a whole lot can be down running on top of
> an existing OS, be it some Unix derivitive or even some version of
> WinDoze. Or all of the above! From the user's environment point of
> view, it should NOT matter what the underlying OS is. Abstract it and
> wrap into oblivion!

I think that my problem with the above is that you can only abstract  so
much of the OS away. Look at the Squeak project; a very portable
smalltalk VM that is written in smalltalk and then translated into C for
speed. Versions exist for just about every OS around and the code runs
the same on all of them... almost. Every so often little OS "features"
bit one in the butt. The differing file name conventions for example, or
worse, is a directory separator a / a \ a : or something else?Don't even
think about versioning...

> >I'd love to be able to slip a CD in my Intel box and an hour later
> >have a Symbolics look-alike.  But I can get along with what I have.
> >Is there anyone on this list who is just foaming at the mouth :-) to
> >create the Symbolics look-alike?
> >
> >-Fred Gilham   gilham@csl.sri.com
> >
>   That's what some of us old farts are interested in. Unfortunately,
> very few on this list have ever seen a Symbolics let alone used
> one. So most people don't understand when we reminisce about the
> glories of Genera!

Or even more obscurely when a few of us mutter about the glories of
Interlisp on an 1186...

OTOH if anyone has an Open Genera Source License they'd care to
accidently spill onto an FTP site... Nah, I didn't say that... ;>

>   Mike McDonald
>   mikemac@mikemac.com

  William Barnett-Lewis