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Re: CLIM on CMU CL
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1992 00:26 EST
This all sounds pretty good. I'd like to carefuly go over any copyright
notice you propose to put on the thing, just to make sure it doesn't tangle
us up in ways that will become a problem later on. We'll have to discuss
what happens when someone else takes our code and builds their Common Lisp
on top of it, as several groups have done. I guess the right idea is that
if they plan to sell the result, they have no right to include the CLIM
code unless they negotiate a separate deal with you, but if they put the
result back into the public domain (for example, some people at University
of Utah are doing a public-domain port of CMU CL to the H-P snake), then
the result would still be CMU CL and the CLIM code could still be part of
Yup. This sounds right.
Lucid and Allegro don't view us as a threat because they know that their
big customers don't mind paying for a guaranteed level of support and
hand-holding. I think that our support has usually been better than
theirs, at least for semi-sophisticated university users, but we don't
promise anything at all. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if some
company were to start selling CMU CL support as a separate service -- that
makes the game a lot more interesting.
In my view, if these companies do their jobs, CMU CL should actually be
good for them. By making Common Lisp more available to universities, and
by solving some of Lisp's traditional problems, we help to enlarge the
total community and hold back the C. The companies should have no trouble
shipping a Lisp that is better than ours: if they can't build something
better on their own, they can take our code and devote all of their
programming resources to adding value. All we've done is to raise the
floor a bit -- the vendors can't stand pat with their mediocre old compiler
technology while something better is out there for free. But competition
from C was putting pressure on them anyway. (It looks like Lucid has
decided to switch most of their resources over to the task of making C more
I agree with everything you said here - progress marches on, and those
who don't keep up, well, too bad.
I'm not too worried about the discretion of our two undergrads. What is
more likely to happen is that some of the preliminary technical discussions
about how to do this will spill out onto a mailing list with outsiders on
it. If a port were to begin in earnest, people would certainly get wind of
it. (Our "internal" mailing list includes ex project members who have gone
to various companies and universities.) So you would have to make peace
with your vendors and users before we really crank up a big technical
OK - I'll start talking to them.
One possible strategy would be to pre-empt a "public-domain" rumor by
telling people that you are exploring with us what technical problems would
be faced in porting CLIM to CMU CL. You don't have to say that the result
would be free. If anyone asks, just say that you are exploring the
technical issues, and that you haven't yet decided how this would be
marketed. Just a thought...
It's a good one.