CLIM mail archive


The cost of CLIM and its future

    Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1992 16:34 EDT
    From: Kenneth Forbus <>

    I'm afraid, despite being a strong CLIM supporter, that the recent
    messages regarding the hobbling of CLIM via license fees have a strong
    ring of truth to them.

    I distribute software for free to students and interested researchers.
    Right now I cannot presume they have CLIM, since many of them use
    public-domain CL implementations.  If my code >>requires<< CLIM, they
    lose.  Consequently, I end up (a) maintaining character-oriented
    portable interfaces [probably a good idea anyway], and (b) exploring
    C++ as a means of getting programs into student's hands on really
    small (e.g., 386) machines.  I'm not very happy about this.

    I know that the Lisp vendors are struggling to survive.  However, more
    and more people I know are choosing public-domain CL interface
    packages over CLIM.  Personally, I'm reasonably happy with CLIM.  But
    then again, I'm able to afford the licenses and really need the
    portability.  I don't see CLIM gaining momentum (more the opposite),
    which is exceedingly sad because I think it's a very good system.

Could somebody suggest a way that us Lisp companies get to stay in
business?  Please don't make any suggestions that you and your
management aren't willing to pay cash-money for.  I'm serious.  It's
all very easy for people to be saying how this should be free and that
should be cheap and such-and-so should be given away, and then Lisp
vendors make money on support and consulting, but who among you is
*really and truly* going to pay for such support and consulting?

Everyone who knows me knows that I think software should be widely
available at very low prices.  Personally, I would like to see CLIM
being sold very cheap indeed, and even cheaper for educational purposes.
But the reality is that the Lisp community is very small, and we do not
have a mass market to make up for very cheap software.  Please don't
tell me "if it was free the market would be bigger" -- I've heard that
one before, and it's not the whole truth.

This is really a bigger discussion than is the purview of this mailing
list, but I think that some deep thought (not knee-jerk flames) by
everybody might turn up something new and valuable.


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