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Re: Cost of Lisp (was Re: Lisp better than C?)
Mostly keeping our heads above water... We have released (beta), so we are
getting some non-CMU bug reports for added interest. And Bill Chiles (who
has been doing most of our user-interface and documentation work) left, so
we're even more short-handed than usual until we hire someone new.
In summary, so far as I know, the only version of the system being used
outside of CMU is the SunOS/SPARC version. This version seems to have
attracted quite a bit of interest (at least in comparison to our previous
user community.) Under Mach, we also support the MIPS processor on
DECstations (and the IBM RT PC...)
If you want current sources, I believe that the pointers in the README file
in the distribution is out of date.
/afs/cs/project/clisp/general-info/sunos-README.txt is the current version.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
This message announces the general beta release of CMU Common Lisp 15b for
SPARCstation or Sun4 machines running SunOS. 15b contains only minor Hemlock
bug-fixes, and people who already have 15a probably shouldn't bother with this
stopgap release. The changes from 15a are:
-- It contains the correct revisions of several Hemlock files (containing some
changes in the previous release notes.)
-- It fixes an error in a FORMAT string of one of these changes.
[Note: there seem to be some problems with the OpenLook and Hemlock. The
standard focuslenience resource annotation seems to help, but we're working on
a proper fix.]
We are making this release mainly to make the external SunOS release identical
to the local CMU release. In about a week, there will be a bug-fix release
incorporating fixes to recently reported bugs. Keep those cards and letters
The rest of this message is derived from the cmucl(1) man page and README file.
Robert A. MacLachlan (email@example.com)
Sun Release 4.1 1
CMUCL(1) USER COMMANDS CMUCL(1)
CMU Common Lisp
CMU Common Lisp is public domain "industrial strength" Com-
mon Lisp programming environment. Many of the X3j13 changes
have been incorporated into CMU CL. Wherever possible, this
has been done so as to transparently allow use of either
CLtL1 or proposed ANSI CL. Probably the new features most
interesting to users are SETF functions, LOOP and the WITH-
CMU CL is currently available for Sparcstations and DECsta-
tions (pmaxes) running Mach (or OSF/1). We are beta-testing
a SunOS SPARC version and an IBM RT Mach version. At least
16 megabytes of memory and 25 megabytes of disk space are
recommended. As usual, more is better.
Bug reports should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please
consult your local CMU CL maintainer or Common Lisp expert
to verify that the problem really is a bug before sending to
We have insufficient staffing to provide extensive support
to people outside of CMU. We are looking for university and
industrial affiliates to help us with porting and mainte-
nance for hardware and software that is not widely used at
When compared other Common Lisp implementations (such as
Allegro), CMU CL has two broad advantages:
-- The new CMU CL compiler (Python) is more sophisticated
than other Common Lisp compilers. It both produces
better code and is easier to use.
-- The programming environment based on the Hemlock editor
is better integrated than gnu-emacs based environments.
(Though you can still use GNU if you want.)
CMU CL also has significant non-technical advantages:
-- It has good local support for CMU users, and is well
integrated with the CMU CS environment.
-- It is public domain, and is freely available to non-CMU
sites that aren't able to afford a site-license for a
The `Advanced Compiler' chapter of the User's manual exten-
sively discusses Python's optimization capabilities (See
DOCUMENTATION below.) Here are a few high points:
-- Good efficiency and type-checking at the same time. Com-
piling code safe gives a 2x speed reduction at worst.
-- In safe code, type declarations are verified, allowing
declarations to be debugged in safe code. When you go to
compile unsafe, you know the declarations are right.
-- Full source level debugging of compiled code, including
display of the exact call that got an error.
-- Good efficiency notes that tell you why an operation
can't be open coded or where you are number-consing, and
that provide unprecedented source context
-- Block compilation, partial evaluation, lightweight func-
tions and proper tail-recursion allow low-cost use of
function call abstraction.
This software is "as is", and has no warranty of any kind. CMU and the
authors assume no responsibility for the consequences of any use of this
This is a general beta release, meaning that anyone can FTP it, but we won't
be very sympathetic about catastrophes resulting from your dependence on CMU
CL. After the bug reports die down, we will announce a full release, and will
then try to be sympathetic toward desperate users.
See "man cmucl" (man/cmucl.1) for other general information.
CMU Common Lisp is only available via anonymous FTP. We don't have the
manpower to make tapes. All of our files are in the AFS file system. Here
are some suggested gateway machines:
Log in with the user "anonymous" and your real userid as password. Due to the
way anonymous FTP access control is done, it is important to "cd" to the
source directory with a single command, and then do a "get" operation. If you
have any trouble with FTP access, please send mail to email@example.com.
The binary release area is /afs/cs.cmu.edu/project/clisp/release. This
directory holds compressed tar files with names of the form:
FTP compressed tar archives in binary mode. To extract, "cd" to the
directory that is to be the root of the tree, then type:
uncompress <file.tar.Z | tar xf - .
The latest SunOS Sparc release is:
-rw-r--r-- 1 wlott 9330285 Nov 1 17:35 15b-sun4c_41.tar.Z
The resulting tree is 23 megabytes.
Major release announcements will be made to comp.lang.lisp until there is
enough volume to warrant a comp.lang.lisp.cmu.
The SunOS support was written by Miles Bader and Ted Dunning.
We have not done any SPARC-specific tuning yet. Performance will improve from
10-30% when we add instruction scheduling and register windows.
Lisp and documentation sources are available via anonymous FTP. [See the
README file.] All CMU written code is public domain, but CMU CL also makes
use of several imported packages: PCL, CLX and XP. Although these packages
are copyrighted, they may be freely distributed without any licensing
agreement or fee.
Also in /afs/cs/project/clisp/release:
-rw-r--r-- 1 ram 3257791 Oct 19 19:50 15b-sun4-source.tar.Z
Image of all ".lisp" source files used to build version 15b for SPARC
machines. Probably more interesting to most people than the RCS
-rw-r--r-- 1 ram 7267593 Oct 16 16:42 10-16-91-cmucl-master.tar.Z
The project/clisp/master subtree: the RCS source (,v) files for all of