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The machine dependency I referred to is not that you are limited by the
length of the word (assuming they only support fixnums).  The machine
dependency is that the arithmetic value of a fixnum containing a
certain pattern of bits depends on the word length; if the bits were
numbered from right to left it would not depend, provided only that the
number of bits was small enough to fit in a word.  This is particularly
important when you have constants, and is one of the reasons why I feel
bits should be numbered from right to left whenever possible.  In fact,
we changed the Lisp machine from left-to-right to right-to-left several
years ago for this reason among others.