OpenGenera (was Re: Scheme compilers)

James A. Crippen
Sat, 12 Sep 1998 19:07:59 -0800 (AKDT)

On 11 Sep 1998, Clemens Heitzinger wrote:

> You can get Alpha/Linux machines in Austria for about 1400 USD.

Friend of mine bought a Multia (DEC's somewhat cramped pizzabox Alpha (tho
it's half a pizzabox really)) for U$D150.- in a  No periphs
or a monitor, but since those are simply PS/2 std they cost him nothing.
Blasted thing had 64MB of memory, too.  I envy him.  Another friend tried
his hand at the scene and got a slightly better Multia for
approx U$D300.-.  If I only had any money...
> An OpenGenera freely or cheaply (!) available for *non-commercial*
> purposes, like Franz Inc.'s ACL/Linux is, would be a great move.  It
> would have advantages for Symbolics, too:
> Interested people -- like students -- could get to know it and use
> it for non-commercial purposes.  This increases mindshare, and people
> who know the product and like it are likely to buy it later or
> recommend it to customers.  Symbolics looses nothing, but gains
> mindshare and customers.

IMHO one of Symbolics's main problems is the lack of mindshare and
advertising.  Nobody today knows or remembers them, and the few that do
are usually madly in love with them, but their colleagues couldn't care
less.  Unfortunately there really isn't a great desire for something that
nobody understands, and subsequently the unknowledgeable make unkind
comments and sometimes even blatant lies about it.  This seems to be
Symbolics's posn.  I meet a few people in the IT communities that have
heard of them, but they invariably say "Those machines are useless since
they're dedicated to one language and one user." which is obviously (to us
anyway) false.  And if you try to inform these people they just look at
you funny.  I suppose I'm used to being looked at that way, but Symbolics
shouldn't have to be.

To convince our brethren (and sistren) in the IT fields that Symbolics can
do neat things even today we need to be able to give flashy demos and
weighty examples of their software's capability (ignoring the hw for now).
That means being able to get your hands on it in the first place.  So yes,
giving away an 'evaluation' version or a free 'educational only' version
would be one of the best things they could do for themselves.  I think.
> It would help the Lisp community.  People could write (free) Common
> Lisp software that uses CLIM.  It's a pity still that one needs an
> Alpha box.

Too true!  Having a system available with CLIM included that doesn't
require a government loan to purchase would be *great*.

There's got to be a way to kluge 36 bit words onto a 32 bit machine.
Somehow.  It has to be possible.  And is probably doable efficiently.  Any


James A. Crippen, CS/Math tenured undergrad	<<Lambda calculus	.-.		  uber alles!>>		   \
If the future isn't what it used to be, does that mean that the past	   /\
is subject to change in times to come?					  /  \