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re: macivory

We've had a macivory since beta I.  The new release fixes lots
of the earlier bugs, and the environment is a clone of the 3650
with genera 7.2.  There is at least one incompatability we are
having to fight our way through right now, though.  Our system
does a lot of color graphics, including lots of color bitbltting.
Some functions in the graphics package have the ability to take
:color arguments, with :red, :blue, :green, etc. provided by symbolics.
It works fine with draw-line and draw-rectangle, eg, but it doesn't
work with draw-string--in fact, the affects are varied, ranging from
simply changing the string to grey tones to drawing the mirror image
to changing the placement to the upper left corner of the window.
The bottom line is that we are going to have to port the system
the same way we ported it to the MacII with Allegro, ie, with rpc's.

Another problem we had was that the Macivory would not work with
a 19 inch color monitor (it's a Sony trinitron monitor).  Symbolics
told me that they only support Apple video boards.  This means that
color work is restricted to 640x480 resolution, whether on a 13 inch
Apple monitor or some of the large screen monitors that use the
Apple video board.

One other thing that's frustrating after getting used to the 3650 is
the speed of window switching.  Sometimes it seems to take forever
to switch, eg, from a lisp listener to zmacs.

It should also be pointed out that the system defintiely prefers being
in a network with lispm's.  This is simply a hardware matter, but the
Jasmine drive is not big enough to hold the source code.  It has to
be stored on another machine since it requires over 60MB of disk space
(I'm not really complaining here since the source code is a big plus). 
Also, the tape drives on the big machines are orders of magnitude faster
than the cute little things that work with the MacII.

Having said all this, I'd like to add that the development environment
supplied by this system is leagues ahead of anyone elses.  This includes
the TI MicroExplorer (which still doesn't support any color) and a
Sun running SPE (which is buggy in some very disturbing places, like
the debugger).  I sincerely hope the Macivory makes it, although I
think the ivory board on a Sun or some other unix machine would be
better.  My intent here was simply to provide some feedback for those
who are looking into switching.

Barry Smith