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Re: future plans for MCL

        I would like to add another voice to the chorus of concern about
Apple's decision not to port MCL to the PowerPC platform.

        Our basic research institute uses macs almost exclusively for PC
level computing (about 40 total). A significant reason for that choice was
the range of development environments available. We don't always use MCL by
any means, but when it is needed there is essentially no alternative. For
example, when we needed to write a program to do automated assignments for
NMR protein spectra, it would not have even been attempted if lisp had not
been available. Since it was available (then!) we successfully wrote the
program in a month and that program is still in use.

        I offer our case as an example of the existence of a class of
potential MCL users that may not be obvious when Apple does their business
calculations. We are not developers (except for ourselves) and we do not
sell machines (but we do buy them !). Which machines we buy is strongly
influenced by what problems the machines can help us solve (if applications
were available then it wouldn't be research). Some problems, perhaps even a
majority, can be solved with Fortran or Mathematica, but some certainly
require lisp. If lisp isn't available on macs, then we will go to other
machines that do support a wider range of problem-solving. (Dylan and other
non-standard languages are simply not an option for us). We prefer macs
primarily because of Apple's success in making them so friendly for
development and use; but that friendly shell has to surround useful and
powerful programs or it is empty.

        I realize that users like us will never be in the majority, and I
don't even know how large a minority we are, but we are at least one
component of Apple's customers. I urge Apple to reconsider its decision to
abandon MCL development.

Michael Burns, Ph.D.
Chairman, Advisory Council
Rowland Institute for Science
Cambridge, MA