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Re: Symbolics vs stock hardware

Snail Mail Address: American Microsystems Inc. (A wholly owned
		    subsidiary of Gould Inc.) CAD Research Lab. P.O.
		    Box 967 Twain Harte, CA  95383
Phone Number:       (209)586-7422

    Date: Fri, 17 Feb 89 09:42:28 EST
    From: bds@mbunix.mitre.org
    We use Symbolics machines for development, but most of our customers
    won't buy them, so we have to deliver on standard unix boxes.  This
    situation is true for many people in industry.  It would be great to
    have the genera development environment running efficiently on a unix
    box, but this doesn't seem possible right now.

    A couple of notes, though.  First, since our code is very i/o
    intensive, and relies very heavily on color graphics, we have found
    that a 3650 run significantly faster than the same code on a Sun 4/260
    with Lucid 2.1.  Ken Forbus did say that sophisticated user interfaces
    should be written on lispms, and as of now he is right.  Second,
    everyone seems to be working very hard to build a genera-like
    environment on a unix box, witness SPE and Composer, although these
    are still bug-ridden and slow. Once again, as Ken said, perhaps
    Symbolics should release genera for the Sun, not as an ivory board,
    but as a software product.  I'd certainly buy it.  

>From the board room on down, our company would drool over this!

    And third, it
    seems like every day I hear about new and better hardware.  The
    new Decstation 3100 should have both Lucid and Franz running by
    the summer.  There are rumors that Sun will be replacing the Sun 4
    within 6 months with a machine with better i/o (it seems i/o is
    the real name of the game, not mips).  And even the Compaq 386/25
    is said to run lisp as fast or faster than a 36xx, although paging
    is pretty pathetic.

    So, although I was glad to hear the Symbolics side of this story,
    perhaps Ken is right, and the time is coming for Symbolics to become, 
    at least partially, a software company.

Well, Symbolics has always been a software company, they just get confused.

    Barry Smith