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Queries about CMU CL

George Robertson (a former CMU person now at Xerox PARC) is getting a bunch
of SGI machines and is interested in our Lisp.  If he decides it is what he
wants, he could help us beat on SGI to do a deal.  I've answered some of
the questions below.  Could one of you guys answer him about the others?
My comments are in <<>>.

-- Scott

------- Forwarded Message

Date:	Thu, 26 Sep 1991 11:53:59 PDT
Sender: George Robertson <robertso@parc.xerox.com>
To:	Scott.Fahlman@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: CMU Lisp on SGI Iris


I have several questions that the CMU Lisp documentation doesn't
answer.  The most critical question is when an Iris version of
CMU Lisp might be available.  I know you're working on a
SunOS version.  I also know that both Ibuki and Franz had
difficult transitions from their SunOS versions to an Irix version.
Irix does it's memory management just different enough to make
dynamic loading non-trivial.

<<I told him a few weeks from whenever we start, which is probably whenever
we get machines.  But I wonder if there's a hidden Gotcha that bit the
other ports and might bite us.  I guess we can't tell from this, but we'd
better be wary.>>

The second most critical questions have to do with the foreign function
interface.   There are two key features that had to be added to Franz's
FFI, the ability to handle ANSI C function prototyping and the ability
to specify in-line foreign function calls if all arguments are properly
type declared.  The first is critical because Iris GL uses single-float
arguments instead of the C standard double-floats.  Your documentation
implies that function prototyping is not supported.  Are you planning
on supporting it?  When?  Your documentation suggests that there is
a way to get in-line foreign function calls, but the documentation of
the FFI doesn't indicate how to do it.  If you can't, can it be added easily?

<< That's the one I can't answer.  I don't even know what an ANSI C
Function protype is.  William, can you handle this?  Is it something we
either have or could add quickly? >>

A third question is about CLOS.   Your documentation doesn't say much
about it.  I assume you support PCL.  Do you provide any of the PCL
optimizations that are possible with PCL?  Do you have any plans for
a "native" CLOS?

<< I told him we use PCL and about our long-term plans for CLOS.  I don't
think we've done any of these little system-specific PCL optimizations.  If
this is something that matters to potential users, and if it isn't terribly
hard, maybe we should.  Anyone (Rob?) know what's involved?>>

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