New page about Virtual Machines

Alaric B. Williams
Tue, 20 May 1997 18:07:47 +0000

> On Mon, 19 May 1997, Fare Rideau wrote:
> >    because I couldn't find any generic page on virtual machines,
> > I've just created one under the Tunes Review subproject:
> Thank you!  Everyone working on OS projects either owes a debt of 
> gratitude to Fare' or should.

Agreed; seldom do we see such dedication and eagerness to help!

> I'm on too many mailing lists as it is, but I suspect that I'd love to 
> know more about LispOS.  Emails are welcome.
Well, for the world at large, here's my potted opinion of LispOS.

The LispOS crowd are divided into several overlapping factions.
Mostly, these are:

Small (A VM that can be D/Led with a Java or ActiveX interpreter to
       remote web browsers)
Medium (Something that runs on UNIX, and is very much embedded in UNIX,
        using UNIXy peripheral paradigms (file access etc))
Large (A full OS, dumping the past and looking to the future. A nice
       persistent filesystem idea that can use UNIX filesystems as
       brain-damaged persistent databases may arise from this)

Transparently persistent (One huge virtual machine that never shuts
       down, so far as the code sees. Single-level storage)
Persistent (There is a notion of "long term storage", but it's
       well integrated; we "open" an object, play with it,
       then "close" it or let it get GCed)
Transient (Manual storage and loading, but with an object-level
       file stream interface)

Common Lisp Compiler
Scheme Compiler w. large toolset library
Bytecode VM compiled to from many languages, optimised for Lisps
Home-grown Lisp designed for speed with all the latest tricks

So, as you can see, we have many different goals - most of which are
being concentrated together by finding higher-order generic solutions,
or other such diplomatic excercises.

Proposals for features are being collected, which will help us a lot
to reach a consensus.

A duty roster of people prepared to work is also being put together.

Richard Coleman, who stared it all, hardly says anything :-)

> -Billy
Alaric B. Williams (

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