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Unfortunately I'm not going to make it to the national meeting of SLUG
this year as I have in the past.  I've got a number of out-of-town trips
this summer and have just been through one of the most intense projects
I've ever been invovled in.  Next week for a change, I'll be with my
family rather than my lispm.

Since I'm not going to be there, I thought I'd make some of my thoughts
public at this time.

SYMBOLICS:  The previous two SLUGs came at times shortly after major
changes in the leadership of Symbolics.  At least we have some stability
here.  Symbolics has shown a profit, albeit small, for three quarters
now.  While that may be important to the people who pay attention to
the finanicial situation, its importance is secondary to users ("secondary"
because we need the company to be there and it can only survive if it makes
a profit (actually, it needs more profit than has been made recently)).
The products and support of the company are some of the more important
day-to-day issues for SLUG members.

Jay Wurts has led Symbolics upwards from its low point at his joining
the company.  He has done whatever it was that needed to be done to
turn those profits and so I suspect the company looks more viable in
its investors' eyes.  The recent upgrade path for the MacIvory
indicates that Symbolics does not want to just sell machines to people
and then forget those customers.  I certainly have fewer and have
heard fewer complaints about the various parts of Symbolics.  I would
like especially to compliment software support.  They have been very
responsive and have improved their quality of responses over the past.
Hardware support locally has been good for some time for me.  Some of
the frustrations with the national hardware support organization (lack
of parts, etc) are not bothering me now.

I would also like to commend Reza Seddigh, Symbolics' liaison to SLUG.
Everyone has seen his name on a number of messages that have been sent
to SLUG.  I see the behind-the-scenes activity and he has been
extremely diligent in his work and his support.  He's been very active
in getting things going and working with the SLUG president.  He has
monitored the SLUG mail and made sure Symbolics has responded

Although I've only mentioned two people by name, I think everyone at
Symbolics deserves congratulations.  I've already mentioned hardware
and software support.  I was involved with the MacIvory beta-test and
the hardware and software worked very well from day one.  Our current
MacIvory with the released 7.4 is running well.  Kudos to those
developing, testing, and distributing the software and hardware.

SLUG: As everyone must know, Paul Pangaro, as Rich Cohen was before
him, has been the driving force of SLUG.  He has overseen many
details, presented issues to Symbolics, and generally managed the
whole organization.  As was the case when Rich was president, the
support of the membership has been somewhat spotty.  Some people help,
most just sit and imbibe the benefits.  Paul can help me with this but
those that come to my mind as deserving special recognition are
Barry Margolin, Glenn Adams, and Richard Billington.

I think the SLUG organization is generally solid but we do need more
participation.  We desparately need a librarian.  I hope someone will
step forward at the national SLUG meeting for that position and for
the other positions as well.

The SLUG electronic mailing list continues to grow and is quite active.
Personally, I'd like to see some more exchange of code over it.  Some
issues (such as bug reports to and fixes from Symbolics) are not yet

The future:  Remember SLUG is for the users.  It is completely appropriate
for us to discuss whether or not Symbolics platforms are what we should
be using and how they can be better.  It is appropriate that we discuss
how the work that we have done on them can be best utilized by our
customers (whether those be external to our companies or within).  This
includes porting issues (to other Lisps or other languages) as well as
the desires that we don't have to port (eg, Genera on a Sun or RT or Vax).

In closing, I expect it will be a productive national meeting.  I encourage
those people that can make it to be there and participate.  I know I'm
going to miss out on information and won't be there to put my two bits
in.  I'll miss my chance to say hi to the various people I've met over
the years.  Have fun!