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The Problem WITHIN Apple (was: Future of MCL)

I tried to hold myself back from posting in the heat of reading the
enormous number of articles from disappointed MCL users, but... I simply
cannot understand what is going on at Apple. There is no need in this
newsgroup to convince people that MCL is a great product, nor is there a
need for MCL users to go to Apple and offer their help. The problem seems
to be coming from within Apple not from the limited acceptance of the
product. Let me explain.

I was heavily involved in the U of CO's move away from Symbolics and Unix
boxes to Macs running MCL. Apple is very interested in our work:

- They paid us to fly around in the US demonstrating our
  applications based on MCL,

- THEY demonstrated our MCL based applications at Apple
  developer conferences in the US, Germany, and France,

- they gave us a large number of Macs and MCL site licenses,

- they are interested in working with us on multi million$
  grants using tools, from Apple and the U of CO, that are
  based on MCL

Now here is the part that I cannot understand. If Apple has all THIS money
to spend for projects that are based on MCL, then how can the same company
tell me with a straight face that they cannot finance the port MCL to the
PowerPC? I believe that there is a serious problem within Apple. I can only
hope that the outcries for help on the net make it to the people at Apple
that support these kind of projects. MCL has not been and maybe will never
be a high volume sales item. However, not to port MCL onto the PowerPC
would be extremely short sighted - and this by a company that many of us
believed to have a great vision!

It took quite some time, money and energy to make the move towards Macs and
MCL. At least 6 classes offered at the university (not only in the CS
department) using MCL expose >100 students every semester to MCL. While
this is no immediate pay-off, this could lead to a new generation of people
using the MCL platform. A large number of students made "funny" faces when
they got exposed to lisp based on their previous frustrating Lisp
programming experience. The very same students ended up writing Lisp
applications consisting of thousands of lines of code with great pleasure
using MCL. Many students have even bought or are planning to buy Macs
because of MCL. Some of the students that are planning to buy Macs are -
ironically - waiting for the release of the PowerPC.

Dear Apple, you are about to shot yourself into the foot BIG TIME... and
this time you cannot tell us you had no idea. We are not stuck with System
7; without MCL, a PC without the "Power" may be good enough - have a seat
Mr. Gates..

   Alex Repenning

     _/_/_/    _/_/_/  _/_/_/    Alex Repenning (ralex@cs.colorado.edu)
   _/      _/    _/      _/      University of Colorado
  _/            _/      _/       Department of Computer Science and
 _/            _/      _/        Institute of Cognitive Science
_/      _/    _/      _/         Boulder, CO 80309-0430
 _/_/_/        _/_/_/            Phone: (303) 492-1349, Fax: (303) 492-2844