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Re: Symbolics vs stock hardware

We use Symbolics machines for development, but most of our customers
won't buy them, so we have to deliver on standard unix boxes.  This
situation is true for many people in industry.  It would be great to
have the genera development environment running efficiently on a unix
box, but this doesn't seem possible right now.

A couple of notes, though.  First, since our code is very i/o
intensive, and relies very heavily on color graphics, we have found
that a 3650 run significantly faster than the same code on a Sun 4/260
with Lucid 2.1.  Ken Forbus did say that sophisticated user interfaces
should be written on lispms, and as of now he is right.  Second,
everyone seems to be working very hard to build a genera-like
environment on a unix box, witness SPE and Composer, although these
are still bug-ridden and slow. Once again, as Ken said, perhaps
Symbolics should release genera for the Sun, not as an ivory board,
but as a software product.  I'd certainly buy it.  And third, it
seems like every day I hear about new and better hardware.  The
new Decstation 3100 should have both Lucid and Franz running by
the summer.  There are rumors that Sun will be replacing the Sun 4
within 6 months with a machine with better i/o (it seems i/o is
the real name of the game, not mips).  And even the Compaq 386/25
is said to run lisp as fast or faster than a 36xx, although paging
is pretty pathetic.

So, although I was glad to hear the Symbolics side of this story,
perhaps Ken is right, and the time is coming for Symbolics to become, 
at least partially, a software company.

Barry Smith