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Letter to the Editor

To the Editor,

Your review of Macintosh Common Lisp misses the forest for the trees.
Relatively minor flaws cause the author to give it only a moderately good
rating, whereas any experienced user can tell you that MCL provides an
unparalleled environment for exploratory programming and application
development, and it is an excellent value.

At the MIT Media Lab, we have been active MCL users since its
appearance as Coral Common Lisp, and it is vital to a growing segment
of projects in artificial intelligence and advanced interactive
interfaces. MCL is used as the major platform for our projects in
intelligent multimedia tools, computer music and interactive
performance, speech research, and a project to develop intelligent
interface agents. 

The reserach community is now at a crossroads. Future advanced
interfaces will have to have both good graphical interfaces, and some
artificial intelligence capability. We desparately need an integrated
environment which simultaneously provides a good interactive dynamic
development environment and smoothly integrated access to interactive
graphics. The Unix and IBM PC-compatible worlds are so backward and
balkanized on user interface and programming environment issues that
this community simply has nowhere else to go. MCL is a lifeline.

There's no comparison at all with C/C++ and Pascal environments. They
simply don't have truly dynamic objects, an intergrated programming
and debugging interface, true object-oriented access to Macintosh
graphics, etc. MCL is more efficient and provides wider access to Mac 
capabilities than Smalltalk and Prolog, its only competitors. Lisp systems on
Unix machines cost thousands of dollars more and are less effective.
And e-mail support from the small but dedicated MCL team has been exemplary.
This earns the highest rating in my book.

Henry Lieberman
Research Scientist
Media Laboratory 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology