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PowerPC vs. MCL

Thanks Bill to your helpful (as usually) and positive answer to my original

>>(Instead of repeating the hot PowerPc question) I would like be sure if LAP
>>code (that I did quite a lot) runs in emulated mode (assuming it otherwise
>>fits to Mac and MCL standards. I hope yes ..

Bill:: >If it didn't, MCL itself would not run. LAP only exists because we
>used it to implement MCL.
>Don't expect 68000 LAP code to continue to run once MCL runs native on
>the PowerPC, however. (Apple may not do this port, but Rick Fleischman
>was serious when he said that Apple is looking for a partner to do it).


The answer from Rick Fleischman to the HOT PowerPC QUESTION was really
disappointing. Like others who have responded rapidly to this bad news I
cannot quite understand the way Apple is directing their business. Just a
little motivation here:

Over 10 years our laboratory has bought 10 Macs just to be able to run Lisp
on the Macintosh; first our own Lisp, then finally this fabulous MCL, the
best tool on the earth for exploratory programming and fast prototyping.
With peripherals and other buys this has been to Apple about 50 times as
much sales in hardware as in MCL sales !!!   Plus all personal macs of the
group. Plus other groups that bought a Mac to use our MCL software or just
to be influenced by our success with MCL. 

Please count on having sold maybe 100 MCL software packages to our small
lab in the form of hardware. Based on this analysis the modest or moderate
pricing of MCL so far has been a really nice strategy from Apple. You can't
do big business directly based on the development tools but much more on
the machines that are needed to run the developed software.

Plus remember that for decades Lisp has been one of the most important
motors in generating new value to computing, like a piece of infrastructure
that is easy to (declare (ignore lisp)) or to forget or (quit) when looking
at direct profitability. It is a steady attractor and Apple really could
have done much more to advertise it to people making new software, to
schools and education, etc.

For 8 years now we have developed 80% of our research tool software in Lisp
(in signal processing, speech processing, music synthesis, etc), recently
targeting it to MCL, aiming to create also products out of it. I was
quietly thinking that the PowerPC Mac and native code MCL will be an ideal
platform. Now this message!  I think Apple should make different decisions
if they want to be ahead in the computing business also for the coming
decades ...


Finally a technical question. To me it seems that migrating to a native
PowerPC compiler could be done in steps. As the first step, what about
retargeting the existing LAP assembler to reasonably efficient PowerPC
code. What I mean is using a M68 instruction model with PowerPC macro
instruction replacements. I have undestood that LAP is a relatively small
piece of software to be changed this way. What is the problem with this
thinking ?

Matti Karjalainen
Helsinki University of Technology
Acoustics Laboratory