Why LispOS?

Rodrigo Ventura yoda@isr.ist.utl.pt
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 13:27:05 +0100 (GMT+0100)

>>>>> "Chris" == Chris Bitmead <chrisb@Ans.Com.Au> writes:

    Chris> Fred Gilham wrote:
    >> 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?

    Chris> For myself, I just think it would be really neat to have an OS
    Chris> where there is only one sort of entity... Lisp objects. Not ascii
    Chris> files, not raw devices, not zillions of different file formats,
    Chris> configuration files formats, programming and pseudo
    Chris> programming/configuration languages.

        Yeah. I'd say that the biggest challenge of LispOS is to
bridge the gap between the hardware and the lower levels of LISP that
interact with it. There already is lots of work about the higher
levels. The challenge is indeed to make the LISP communicate with the
kernel in a way at least as *simple* as the UNIX syscalls. One cannot
get any simpler than the open()/read()/write()/ioctl() (IMHO this was
one major factor that led to UNIX development) -- the file
paradigm. One can access all kinds of different devices, from network
sockets to serial ports, throught memory itself by the means of this
API. A similar API is required to LispOS. May I propose an improvenemt
of the file API of scheme? Is it powerful enought?

        BTW, I had a couple of more ideas about things LispOS could
have: to have a graphical interface from the bottom-up, ie no more
text-only console. This is impossible for the first stages of
development, no doubt. But as we have a change of building a OS from
the bottom-up, let's do something more updated (well, Symbolics
always had a bitmap display). And instead of formating text straight
to ASCII, using "%d" printf()  or "~a" (format) sequences, why not
something like LaTeX? (Am I getting crazy?) Well, a small subset of
LaTeX, including \bf like commands and even font-changing ones (\tt)!
All together with a PostScript display, we could get it from
GNUstep. It could become quite neat.



*** Rodrigo Martins de Matos Ventura, alias <Yoda>
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***   Instituto de Sistemas e Robotica, Polo de Lisboa
***    Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisboa, Portugal
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