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Buckman on SLUG: What do users REALLY want?

Received: from NILS.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com by ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com via CHAOS with CHAOS-MAIL id 15125; 12 Jan 90 13:09:57 PST
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 90 13:09 PST
From: Eric Buckman <BUCKMAN@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>
Subject: Buckman on SLUG: What do users REALLY want?
To: Moon@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com
cc: slug@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com, rdp@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com
In-Reply-To: <19900111221843.7.MOON@KENNETH-WILLIAMS.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
Message-ID: <19900112210947.4.BUCKMAN@NILS.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>

    Date: Thu, 11-Jan-90 22:12:54-PST
    Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 17:18 EST
    From: Moon@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM (David A. Moon)

	Date: Fri, 5 Jan 90 11:41 PST
	From: Eric Buckman <BUCKMAN@ALAN.kahuna.decnet.lockheed.com>

	Are all these comments / suggestions on what Symbolics should or shouldn't do
	really worth anything, or are we as users just talking among ourselves.

    I'd like to comment on this, as an individual who cares about the user
    community, not as any kind of official statement from Symbolics.

    A lot of times people make comments on SLUG and feel like they might be
    ignored because ....
    I know for a fact that several people in the Symbolics marketing
    department receive the SLUG mailing list and read most of the messages
    carefully.  The same is true of most of the technical leaders in the
Thanks for the word, I'm VERY happy to here that my guess on this topic was
wrong. :-)

	Tell me
	I'm wrong, tell me that we're going to see great marketing moves and decisions
	from Symbolics on anything close to the same level that we see great technical
	accomplishments from them.

    Yes, you are going to see that.

I sure hope so, as you can probably gather, I am a strong supporter
of what Symbolics can do for the software developer, and would like
to see you guys succeed so that I don't have to deal with taking longer to
develop code, or worse yet, not getting hard applications developed, because the
better choice (Genera etc.) got overrun by the UNIX/C bandwagon.

	While I'm flaming........ what's the story on Symbolics coming out with great
	new technical products, but not following up on them.  

    This is a personal view, not an official comment from Symbolics:  We have had
    some significant problems with follow-through on some products, largely for the
    obvious financial reasons.  Nonetheless Concordia, Statice, and Joshua are very
    important for the company and are getting a lot of attention.  It might be that
    you're not aware of what's happening until a new release arrives on your
    doorstep, but it is happening and has been happening for a while.


    Your guess that the long-term plan is for CLIM to replace Dynamic Windows is a
    good insight.  It seems to me (and I think to a lot of other people) that, as a
    reimplementation based on a better understanding of the problem, and as a
    portable standard, CLIM is going to be a lot more useful to customers than DW,
    and it would be a mistake for Symbolics to take anything away from investment in
    CLIM even to fix the many known bugs in DW.  

Right, as I expected, I only wish we had known this sooner, so that we might
have spent less time trying to work through those DW rough edges, focused our
attention to other areas of our application, and waited for CLIM.  Thus saving
ourselves net development time.

    You won't see CLIM as an integral
    part of Genera 8.0, because the timescale isn't right, but CLIM is definitely
    one of the most important ingredients of the future.

Fine, but for project planning purposes, as soon as you folks "can" say, I'd like
more details of what you think the timing of CLIM (for Genera) will be.  

I understand you get into those customer issues of promising something that you
then miss a release date on, so that you'd rather just not say at all.  But
please keep in mind that us as customers (including signing confidentiality
agreements if that helps), get a large benefit out of knowing things like when
we can expect new releases of products, knowing what bugs will be fixed in those
releases, as well as knowing things like: DNA is becoming less supported, and
IP/TCP is getting the bulk of Symbolics networking efforts.  In the DNA case,
we've wasted a lot of time on mail problems etc., and if I had known sooner
about Symbolics "recommending" that customers move to the IP/TCP standard, I
would have pushed sooner here for ordering IP/TCP instead of wasting time
working out DNA bugs with customer-reports.

	.....  Coming from a lab that develops software for those
	application groups, we have so far been very pleased with the power that
	Symbolics provides, both in terms of their development environment (where we can
	turnaround applications a lot faster, and with a much much lower head
	count, than other groups working on other platforms/languages.  Some of this
	success can be attributed to using Symbolics software as pre-written code.  i.e.
	Building up from Concordia to create a  hypertext based help system for an
	application, or using Statice as the substrate on which to build database

    I'm glad to hear that.  Making people like you a lot more productive in what you
    do was always the big idea behind Symbolics.  I admit that in the past not all
    elements in Symbolics understood that; some people used to think the big idea
    was to make minicomputers that would put DEC out of business.

Right.  Keep up the excellent work, and I'll keep up my effort to bring
"Symbolics" technology into the software development and delivery effort here at

    I'm sorry this message was so long and verbose.

On the contrary, I've gotten verbal comments from three slug readers here
already on what a good message your reply was (and sorry about the coding time
you must have lost while writing up this reply).