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MCL Futures

I don't think I've seen anyone request the following as an MCL future: Make
it part of the Macintosh system software. While this may seem radical, I have
some points to support this...

1) There are (at least) two possible viewpoints to consider - Mac-centric and
LISP-centric. I think the latter has been getting the most play in this forum;
the objective is to obtain the best possible LISP environment on the
The strength of the LISP-centric view is emphasized by repeated requests for
a portable cross-platform HI (CLIM, Bedrock, etc.) accessible from MCL. I
think we've heard as much from the Mac-centric view, which says "give me the
best possible development environment for Mac applications." The Mac-centric
view doesn't care so much for cross-platform compatibility; there is an
commitment to deliver applications on the Mac. The real issue for
is getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. This means
the stumbling blocks to effective use of LISP.

2) Apple announcements have alluded to a more modular OS, beginning with
7.1. I'd like to hear whether portions of MCL could become OS modules in 7.1.
Think of this: there are thousands of Mac application developers that have to
face tricky problems in dealing with the Mac toolbox's Memory Manager. How
would give their left arm to have MCL's memory manager at their call? No more
worry about memory leaks... It wouldn't be very hard to imagine how other
of MCL could be useful if callable from _native_ Mac applications through
trap calls (best, because that makes the functionality shareable among
apps) or as MPW libraries.

3) If MCL continues to cater only to the LISP crowd, it will probably never
become a "mainstream" language. If parts of LISP can help commercial Mac
you'll get a crossover effect as they first adopt "modules" (like the MCL
manager, as suggested above) and then gradually migrate more of their
both existing and new, to LISP as other benefits become apparent. Aside from
"components" point of view, developers will come to appreciate the immediacy
of LISP development, which is something that MPW will _never_ approach.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having MCL be the best possible LISP on the
Mac. I just think that it may not be the best use of resources to concentrate
on cross-platform toolkits, as many recent postings seem to suggest.

Thanks for listening,
  David Lamkins
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