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Re: Symbolics & Sun-3 + Lucid Dev Envs

I have been using a Sun-3/52 running KCL and Franz Lisp for
about a year in preference to Symbolics machines, which I
used exclusively for the preceding 2 years.  My perference
is largely based on price and access to sources.  The
current list price for a Sun-3/52, such as mine, with 4mb of
ram, 140mb of disk, a 60mb streaming tape drive, ethernet
connection, a very nice bitmap display, and Unix is about
$11,000, I believe, according to the new Sun prices of a
month ago, or so.  Franz Lisp or Kyoto Common Lisp can be
had for under $1,000 each; don't remember the exact prices.
(I've heard that KCL is free outside of the USA!)  Having
the sources to one's Lisp, as one does with KCL, is
wonderful, as old Lisp users will remember.  Gnu Emacs is
free, of course.  Raw throughput seems very roughly about
1/3 as fast on a Sun-3/52 as on a 3640 when computing with
most compiled Lisp code; this is without working on
declarations (e.g., for fixnums) but with giving up
"safety", as in compiled Dec-10 Maclisp of old.  But
productivity for me does not seem to be any lower on a
Sun-3/52 than on a 3640.  One nice fact about the low price
of the Sun-3/52 is that I've been able to persuade my
management to let me have one at home, too.  Sucking a large
Lisp system into (Gnu) Emacs happens on a Sun-3/52 in a
jiffy rather than taking a while, it seems, on a 3640; I
realize that the Symbolics is doing more, but I like the
things that I do most often to happen quickly, and sucking
in the sources is one of them.  Same with a Tags Query
Replace.  Running Lisp under shell mode in Gnu Emacs is
definitely the nicest interactive Lisp interface I have
every enjoyed; not that it can't be improved; I've heard
that Symbolics' interface in Release 7 has improved a lot,
but haven't used it.  TeX flies on a Sun-3/52; this is
relevant here because I think that many Lisp programmers
also have to write reports about what they are doing or
going to do; the TeX that I once ran on a 3640 ran about 1/5
as fast as it does on a Sun-3/52.  Getting back to lots of
processes in separate spaces also seems nice after living in
a one address space world for a while.

Of course time flies; the Sun-3/52 is about 18 months old
now.  A neighbor is trying to move Gnu and KCL to a 386
machine with 6mb of ram that seems about 40% faster than my
Sun and only costs $4,000.  Heraclitus might have said, "You
can't buy the same machine twice."