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Re: cmu common lisp


The situation with respect to the RS/6000 is complex.  I believe that you
were in the loop the last time we went around on this, a year or two ago.

Basically, at that time, Mach was running on the RS/6000 within IBM and
over at the ITC, but we couldn't get clearance from IBM's lawyers to make
it available over here in CS.  Our facilities people took the position that
projects could purchase these machines and run AIX on them, but they would
have to get all their support from IBM.  The early AIX was pretty bad, and
lacked things like AFS compatibility.  So, up until now, we have only two
or three RS/6000's in SCS.

Under the circumstances, we can't justify an RS/6000 port for CMU's own
needs, and IBM has shown no interest in giving us some machines on which to
do a port.  We put the whole project on hold.

That's where things were stuck until last month.  The ITC has shrunk
considerably, redefined their mission from distributed computing to
multi-media computing, and what's left of it has moved over into the same
building as CS.  IBM asked for this move so that ITC people would interact
more with CS people.  This would obviously work better if some of us on the
CS side we were using the same machines and operating systems, so there is
a renewed push on to get a fair number of RS/6000's in here, running Mach
in anticipation of an OSF-compatible version of AIX.  (I'm not sure if
they're talking about a grant of machines, a discount, or trying to get CS
to buy them.)

When I got wind of this, I contacted Ion Ratiu (IBM's top person at the
ITC) and told him that we'd be willing and eager to do an RS/6000 port, if
only we had a few machines to do it on.  The ITC people discussed this and
responded that they would love to see a Lisp port happen, but that they
can't spare us any machines.  If more machines start flowing in here, maybe
that will change.

So the project is still on hold, but if we were to get some suitably
configured RS/6000's from any source, that would become our top priority
for a port.  It would happen within a few months.  The resulting CMU CL
would be public domain.  It would certainly run on Mach and on the future
OSF-compliant version of AIX.  If it's not too hard, we would also port it
back to the current AIX.  In discussing ports with other manufacturers, our
asking price has been five reasonably configured machines for our group.
Given machine prices these days, that doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

So, if you want to attempt a port yourself, and if the result would be
public-domain, we will try to help.  If you can help persuade some part of
IBM to give us some machines, then we'll do the port and we'll support it.
That might be a better deal in the long run.