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LispM Market Share

Date: Mon, 15 Jan 90 10:03 EST
From: Len Moskowitz <Len@HEART-OF-GOLD>
Subject: LispM Market Share
To: "3077::IN%\"JCMA@reagan.ai.mit.EDU\""@TSD1, "3077::IN%\"slug@warbucks.ai.sri.com\""@TSD1
In-Reply-To: <19900113221136.3.JCMA@MORRISON.AI.MIT.EDU>
Message-ID: <19900115150307.2.LEN@HEART-OF-GOLD>
John C. Mallery wrote:
 > I believe that the only reason two guys can hack and maintain a 6
 > megabyte lisp-based AI system is power of the lisp machine
 > development environment.  This task seems hopelessly intractable in
 > the ``MAClisp model of lisp'' whose current rendition is Lucid
 > running under UNIX, and even more remote hacking in C.  I imagine
 > that anybody else with a large lisp system would quickly come to the
 > same conclusion. 
 > If the lisp machine is the best program development environment
 > available today, why isn't it more popular?
Here's a few more to add to your list:
1. The defense community is beginning to get serious about Ada.
   Lisp machines aren't perceived to have any advantages as Ada
2. If the application has real-time constraints, Lisp is not the
   language of choice.
3. Run-time and development environments should be compatible and allow
   a minimum effort port.  There are cheap/fast Unix delivery boxes.
   There are no cheap/fast Lisp delivery boxes.  Therefore develop on
   Unix machines.
4. File read performance is crummy on the Lispms.  Since that's done so
   often, it leaves the impression that the Lispms are slow machines. 
5. Non-programming utilites on the Lispm are primitive.  After composing
   documentation with Frame Maker, who would want to go back to Zmacs?
   No WYSIWYG either -- ever try to make columns using
   LWCENTURYSCHOOLBOOK105, or viewgraphs with METS?  Is the now-defunct
   Illustrate the best graphics editor we can aspire to?
7. The maintenance costs of the older machines reinforce the decision to
   not buy more new lisp machines.
8. Lisp is still has the aura of being the "AI" language.  Lisp
   machines are for AI hackers, no?