Why LispOS?

Chris Bitmead chrisb@Ans.Com.Au
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 17:07:03 +0000

Rodrigo Ventura wrote:

>     Chris> Of course you can get simpler. You just eliminate them.
>         Baa. It is implicit one wants to simplify without affecting
> the functionality! 

Yeah, so what functionality are you worried to lose?

    >> (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.
>     Chris> Why?
>         Because simplicity (or cleaniness) of an API is usually an
> under-rated factor for broad acceptance. 

So why not simplify the UNIX way, instead of wanting a "similar
API in LispOS"?

> Even if a certain API is the
> best in some technical sense, if it is not simple, if people cannot
> easly grasp how it works, it becomes useless as far as broad use is
> concerned? Imagine for instance the Xlib API. It's fast, is flexible,
> but nobody uses, because everybody prefers a Motif-like API where you
> have widget pointers and callbacks --> simplicity!

Xlib is actually quite simple. It's just that you've got to do
lots and lots of stuff, just to get say a button up on the

>         Ok, I probably didn't explain myself good enought. This idea
> came up while I was thinking about whether to use (format)-like
> semantics or a printf()-like one. Then I had an idea: why not a much
> more complete and powerful semantics, for instance based on LaTeX
> syntax, eg "\int[5]". It's much more readable than "%5d", don't you
> think? 

Hmm. The whole concept of formatting strings seem a bit flawed to
me. \int[5] is the invention of a sub-language that is not
Lisp/Scheme. That is what I thought we are trying to avoid.

Chris Bitmead