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Symbolics to Sun Port Questions
.... I have queried FRANZ Inc. (Allegro LISP, etc.)
for information about their s/w.
First some background information to provide you some context
for answering the questions. Presently, I have a LARGE (10-
20k lines, yes, I know lines is meaningless but it gives you
an idea) Multi-Abstraction Level Planning and Scheduling
System (handles up to a couple of thousand activities) on my
old Symbolics 3600 (serial number below 300), w/ 4 MW memory
running under Genera 7.2 (as you can tell we have a
substantial budget). The code uses flavors provided under
that environment. The portion of code for handling the
display (a substantial fraction of the overall system) avoids
dynamic windows and instead uses the static window flavors
due to speed concerns. In addition, I use my own mouse
handling process for user interaction, scrapping
presentations (when you have a couple of thousand multi-level
presentations you can kiss response goodbye). With this in
mind, please send responses to my questions or any helpful
suggestions directly to me.
1) What other LISP environments are available for SUNs and
where can I contact them?
Lucid is the other significant lisp vendor for Sun platforms (you have
probably already contacted them without knowing it when you sent your
2) During this port, I am thinking of changing over to CLOS.
What experiences has anyone had in doing a Flavors to CLOS
Flavors-to-CLOS is not terribly hard in most cases, unless your code
makes heavy use of the more esoteric aspects of flavors (for example,
defwrapper or unusual types of method combination). Even if so, you can
probably replace these bits with reasonably equivalent CLOS code without
too much trouble. HOWEVER, you may have to pay the price in terms of
performance, at least until people get around to tuning their CLOS
releases a bit more. My guess is that Franz has done more at this point
to make CLOS run reasonably fast than Lucid has, though I've not done
any performance testing on CLOS implementations other than Symbolics' in
beta Genera 8.0.
There is an alternative to the CLOS approach, which is to fall back to
old flavors (I know Lucid has an implementation, and I think Franz does
but I'm not sure). The idea of buying the new flavors sources from
Symbolics (yes, they are available, and not too expensive) and porting
them comes to mind, but this may be more trouble than it is worth.
Anyway, CLOS is the wave of the future.
You'll probably want to use the tools Symbolics provides for converting
from flavors to CLOS.
3) Display translation or is it a total rewrite? What is
available out there that sits on top of X-Windows and what
kind of headaches am I looking at in converting my display
code? (ie: Common Windows is available with Allegro)
Probably a rewrite, unless you choose to convert to DW first. If you do
this, you have some choices: Express Windows (public domain) or CLIM
(available from Franz as of now I believe).
Again, any help will be appreciated.
Other notes: 10-20K lines is not what I'd call a *large* system (unless
you write very long lines!), and it shouldn't be too bad a job to
convert it. Symbolics Genera 8.0 may turn out to be a big help to you,
because of its inclusion of the CLtL and CLtL-only ZMACS syntax modes in
the basic system. This means you can do most of the port work from your
Symbolics (almost all of it if you go the CLIM route), debug it, and
simply move it over to the target machine for final testing. It may not
actually be quite that simple, but shouldn't be too far from it.