why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp) 
Author Message
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Take a look at Franz Allegro IDE,  pretty nice Visual Basic or Java
Swing looking environment...
there doesn't appear to be any way to do OLE,  no access to Windows type
library (although they
do provide lisp binding to Windows MCI,   stopping any argument that we
are concerned with
portability)...

It's closed to custom Javabeans wrapped in ActiveX bridge,  for example,
you could design your own
data access using whatever "free" JDBC/RMI/CORBA drivers you could lay
your hands on.   It would
appear the only ways out you need the ODBC or the ORBlink (I'd choose
the latter,  eschewing
distributing SQL in clients). Those things cost in the thousands, and
more for the runtime licenses.

My guess is,  only being a part-time analyst,  is that it's a licensing
issue.   Sun and Microsoft,  despite
their differences,  have elaborate licensing to their mutual benefit.
They both have something the other
wants and the licenses are really what generate all the revenues,  not
unit "sales".   So everything seems
free unless you want something not on the menu--that's like my
subsidized cafeteria.

Now,   if Microsoft "wanted" Lisp,  we'd have another story.   Right
now,  putting the technology to
interface with the various operating systems(NT, Solaris) is very
expensive for Franz,  I guess.
They'd have to pay dearly for the ability to insert an ActiveX object
into a form in the IDE,  that
would make the product prohibitively expensive...unless they sold their
soul in a licensing agreement,
I suppose.

But Common Lisp is a fairly good standard,  I understand,   unlike SQL
(which again allows for
large companies to "have it" for themselves).   And Java is no standard
of course.   Perhaps in
this case being a standard actually limits Lisp's ability to be widely
used.

I just don't know about C++,  seems to be a counter example to my
arguments here (VC++).

My last real line of Lisp was typed into a Symbolics back in fall of
1991,  from then on it was C-based stuff,
really been stuck in appalachia ever since.

Emerging C/S N-tier architectures will allow us to have a Lisp tier
which we can access over one of the
various generic object buses (Orbs are still highly technical,  not
simple like a "bean").

Then we can put objects in a viable, dynamic object system.

Plan & implement budget structures also would seem incompatible with
Lisping (exploratory),
but plan and implement also has a bad name with cost overruns and
slipping,  staff turnover etc.

"Planning for growth" could revise the project management
strategies--but growth has its limits
if it's not going to be pathological.   We shouldn't be too envious
looking at the arguably pathological
growth of Java.   Who the hell is e{*filter*}d about Java anymore?  I don't
know any...after the
AOL/Netscape/Sun deal and the resulting dropped products and staff
cuts--it's not free--
all the folks with industry certificates not to mention all the code
embedded in "deprecated"
APIs.

What to do?  Convert VB and C++ programmers,  infiltrate Microsoft,
then Franz could sell out.

Another thing to do would be to follow Sun's model and threaten
Microsoft with a virtual Lisp
machine...an entire platform.  At the moment,  Genera is available only
on DEC Alphas and
at what cost?   Wonder why is there so little activity here if Lisp is
so cool,  and it is.

I think Genera was the fattest client ever invented,  the smaller
Unix/C/X approaches won out.
These days,  we could have a huge Genera-like server and have
interoperability with small clients
in other languages.  

Another thing is that Lispers tend to be highly educated and quiet,
compared to the loudmouths
who wanted to re-implement AI stuff in Unix/C back in 1991.   The Lisp
community loses novices
to these loudmouths and to the money.   N-tier is taking care of the
money part now,  so we need
some mass marketing.

Why should we care about mass marketing?  I read of a guy who got fired
for programming in Perl.
The company had mandated that everyone must use VBScript and apparently
had extensive
auditing to enforce this.   This is just an extreme example.   I'd like
to see more opportunities
to use Lisp professionally.

Just my 2 cents...



Mon, 26 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

> Now,   if Microsoft "wanted" Lisp,  we'd have another story.   Right
> now,  putting the technology to
> interface with the various operating systems(NT, Solaris) is very
> expensive for Franz,  I guess.
> They'd have to pay dearly for the ability to insert an ActiveX object
> into a form in the IDE,  that
> would make the product prohibitively expensive...unless they sold their
> soul in a licensing agreement,
> I suppose.

I can't see why Franz would have to pay Microsoft a fee for using
ActiveX in their IDE, nor why they would have to sell their soul[0]
in a licensing agreement. AFAIK, Microsoft has no special 'financial
arrangements' for companies wanting to develop or provide support
for ActiveX-components. Anyone can download a SDK or subscribe to
their MSDN-library. However, numerous companies have signed NDAs with
Microsoft to get more information about Window's inner workings.
(And some of them are now dragging MS to court :-)

I'd be surprised if Microsoft didn't encourage companies like Franz
to incorporate their 'technologies' into products like ACL. If that's
not true, MS' mark.dept. is far worse than I thought.[1]

However, supporting multiple models on different platforms is (for
most companies, I'd believe), expensive in terms of development, QA and
support, if that's what you meant.

[0] Unless we are talking about good/evil
[1] Not only being deceptive, but incompetent as well

--
Lars



Mon, 26 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

>It's closed to custom Javabeans wrapped in ActiveX bridge,  for example,
>you could design your own
>data access using whatever "free" JDBC/RMI/CORBA drivers you could lay
>your hands on.   It would
>appear the only ways out you need the ODBC or the ORBlink (I'd choose
>the latter,  eschewing
>distributing SQL in clients). Those things cost in the thousands, and
>more for the runtime licenses.

If this is a Windows-specific thing I don't know much about that. But if
you were using a Unix-system you could get at least some CORBA support
through Xerox Parc's ILU (ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/ilu/ilu.html).  At
least my distributed hypermedia-system (CLOS) communicates decently with
the Java-clients, using ILU for CL and ORBacus (I think it was) for Java.
It's probably not ORBLink, but it works ok enough for prototyping.
And as for ODBC-support that was mentioned a week or two ago in this group
(where one alternative supported Windows and Macs too).

[snip lotsof "it's the end of the world for Lisp" stuff]

Quote:
>Another thing is that Lispers tend to be highly educated and quiet,
>compared to the loudmouths
>who wanted to re-implement AI stuff in Unix/C back in 1991.   The Lisp
>community loses novices
>to these loudmouths and to the money.

People do figure it out, mysteriously enough, despite all the noise. I am
probably a novice (at least with Lisp) but I somehow understood that to
create the dynamic systems I envisioned and wanted, Lisp was the good
answer. I'm not sure what you mean by highly educated.. but maybe you need
to have been exposed to enough other languages, systems, theory, etc. to
grasp why it is the Right Thing (at least compared to the alternatives).
Some of that might come through education and some through experience.

--
------------------------------------------------------------------
Stig Erik Sand?               Institute of Art History, UiB Norway



Wed, 28 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

> If this is a Windows-specific thing I don't know much about
> that. But if you were using a Unix-system you could get at least
> some CORBA support through Xerox Parc's ILU
> (ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/ilu/ilu.html).

ILU's Lisp mapping also works on the MS Windows platform with both
Allegro 3.x and 5.x.

Joachim

--




Fri, 30 Nov 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:


> > If this is a Windows-specific thing I don't know much about
> > that. But if you were using a Unix-system you could get at least
> > some CORBA support through Xerox Parc's ILU
> > (ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/ilu/ilu.html).

> ILU's Lisp mapping also works on the MS Windows platform with both
> Allegro 3.x and 5.x.

first try it out, using ACL5 and MS Windows, and _then_ you can say this
(above).  I actually gave it a shot, and it was a big failure (unless
something changed over the last 2 weeks).

I'm sure the guys over at Xerox Parc got it to work, but they didn't make it
easily buildable for those downloading it.

dave



Sat, 01 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:


> > ILU's Lisp mapping also works on the MS Windows platform with both
> > Allegro 3.x and 5.x.

> first try it out, using ACL5 and MS Windows, and _then_ you can say
> this (above).

Not only did I _try_ it out, my company is using ILU's Lisp mapping
for ACL5 on NT as a mission-critical component of a production system
that has a 7 digit price tag.

Quote:
> I actually gave it a shot, and it was a big failure (unless
> something changed over the last 2 weeks).

At the time when the latest ILU release came out ACL5 was not yet
widely used and ILU's Lisp mapping had been tested with ACL5 only on
Unix. In the meantime several patches have been posted to the ILU Web
site to make it work on Windows. It is possible that some patches
haven't made it to the patch page yet. You can always ask on the ILU
mailing list. Questions with sufficient detail are usually answered
promptly.

Quote:
> I'm sure the guys over at Xerox Parc got it to work, but they didn't
> make it easily buildable for those downloading it.

AFAIK, the ILU group at Xerox Parc doesn't have access to the Windows
version of Allegro, hence they must rely on others to test on this
platform. This makes it a little more difficult. I will admit that it
takes a little effort. Whether this effort is worth it depends on how
badly you need CORBA support for Lisp ;-)  The big advantage of a free
software package like ILU is that even if your combination of
programming language and platform isn't the vendor's highest priority,
you are always free to take whatever is available and make it
work.

Joachim

--




Sat, 01 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)
Quote:
dave writes:

        > > If this is a Windows-specific thing I don't know much about
        > > that. But if you were using a Unix-system you could get at
least
        > > some CORBA support through Xerox Parc's ILU
        > > (ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/ilu/ilu.html).
        >
        > ILU's Lisp mapping also works on the MS Windows platform with
both
        > Allegro 3.x and 5.x.

        first try it out, using ACL5 and MS Windows, and _then_ you can
say this
        (above).  I actually gave it a shot, and it was a big failure
(unless
        something changed over the last 2 weeks).

        I'm sure the guys over at Xerox Parc got it to work, but they
didn't make it
        easily buildable for those downloading it.

Yeah it's still highly technical and seems to bring on it's own set of
problems...
(the whole corba thing,  I mean have you ever looked at an IOR, geez)
have to
try it out first...Can you give details on your experience with it?

My current block is that there is no free lisp build for ILU that I know
of.  I'm using
cmucl on solaris.  So I can't get to the rich set of free proprietary
drivers in JavaLand...
unless I do this,  er,  FFI thing?  Perhaps that would be best...or a
little socket
programming for pete's sake.



Sat, 01 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

> I mean have you ever looked at an IOR, geez)

The whole point of CORBA is that you don't have to look inside an IOR,
just treat it as an opaque handle for an object. It doesn't matter
where the object's implementation is located or in which programming
language it was written.

Quote:
> Can you give details on your experience with it?

You are talking about ILU's Lisp mapping I assume? We are using it for
a large, mission-critical project and found ILU quite robust. As
someone else mentioned, it can be a bit of an effort to get going if
you use it with a combination of programming language and platform
that is not in active use by the Xerox/PARC people.

Quote:
> My current block is that there is no free lisp build for ILU that I
> know of.  I'm using cmucl on solaris.

Yes, it would be nice if ILU supported cmucl. I toyed with the idea of
writing such a mapping but dropped it when reading the documentation
about cmucl's C interface. ILU's core is written in C and all the
other language mappings are just thin wrappers around the C core. This
requires extensive support for calls in both directions. Last time I
looked cmucl's support for calls from C to Lisp was problematic and
there was some mention of severe limits on how much heap space foreign
code can allocate.

Joachim

--




Sat, 01 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:



> > > If this is a Windows-specific thing I don't know much about
> > > that. But if you were using a Unix-system you could get at least
> > > some CORBA support through Xerox Parc's ILU
> > > (ftp://ftp.parc.xerox.com/pub/ilu/ilu.html).

> > ILU's Lisp mapping also works on the MS Windows platform with both
> > Allegro 3.x and 5.x.

> first try it out, using ACL5 and MS Windows, and _then_ you can say this
> (above).  I actually gave it a shot, and it was a big failure (unless
> something changed over the last 2 weeks).

> I'm sure the guys over at Xerox Parc got it to work, but they didn't make it
> easily buildable for those downloading it.

With or without cygwin32 tools from Cygnus Solutions?

Klaus Schilling



Sat, 01 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

> > > ILU's Lisp mapping also works on the MS Windows platform with
> > > both Allegro 3.x and 5.x.

> With or without cygwin32 tools from Cygnus Solutions?

ILU supports the Win32 platform using Microsoft's Visual C++
compiler. Unix compatibility packages like cygwin32 are not needed.

Joachim

--




Sat, 01 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:
> With or without cygwin32 tools from Cygnus Solutions?

with.

dave

(I'll try to give it another shot, but I don't know if I'll have enough time
before I lose the eval copy of ACL :-(



Sun, 02 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

>My current block is that there is no free lisp build for ILU that I know
>of.

This depends on your definition of "free". If your use qualifies with the
license the ACL 5 Trial Version for Linux, it is "free" (as in free
beer). It works decently with ILU.

--
------------------------------------------------------------------
Stig Erik Sand?               Institute of Art History, UiB Norway



Mon, 03 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

> >My current block is that there is no free lisp build for ILU that I know
> >of.

> This depends on your definition of "free". If your use qualifies with the
> license the ACL 5 Trial Version for Linux, it is "free" (as in free
> beer). It works decently with ILU.

Freedom has been defined bt R.M.Stallman on www.gnu.org , and ACL is tons
of miles away from the truth. ACL is downright proprietary, thus useless.

Klaus Schilling



Mon, 03 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:



> > >My current block is that there is no free lisp build for ILU that I know
> > >of.

> > This depends on your definition of "free". If your use qualifies with the
> > license the ACL 5 Trial Version for Linux, it is "free" (as in free
> > beer). It works decently with ILU.

> Freedom has been defined bt R.M.Stallman on www.gnu.org , and ACL is tons
> of miles away from the truth. ACL is downright proprietary, thus useless.

Right.

There's an older definition of Freedom:

 "Freedom's just another word for 'nothin left to lose'"

              J. Joplin in "Bobby MaGee"

--
Duane Rettig          Franz Inc.            http://www.franz.com/ (www)
1995 University Ave Suite 275  Berkeley, CA 94704



Mon, 03 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 why we aren't using lisp (was New to Lisp)

Quote:

> Freedom has been defined bt R.M.Stallman on www.gnu.org , and ACL is tons
> of miles away from the truth. ACL is downright proprietary, thus useless.

Is there a gnu-sense free java system which works with ILU?  is *ILU*
free in the gnu sense (hint: no, its license isn't nearly as demanding
as the gpl).

--tim



Tue, 04 Dec 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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