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Re: LispM Market Share

    Date: Sat, 13 Jan 90 17:11 EST
    From: JCMA@REAGAN.AI.MIT.EDU (John C. Mallery)

	    1-  nobody implements large software systems;

No, but clearly the number of individuals that implement large software
systems is much much smaller than the number who use them. In some sense the
Symbolics is the opposite of the (original) Macintosh; it's anything but an
appliance. The problem is that software systems manufactured on a Symbolics
often can't be run on the appliances (unless you restrict yourself to a
significant subset of the available facilities, at which point one also
could do almost as well in a significantly simpler and cheaper system).

	    2- LispMs are too expensive (everybody secretly desires one but can't
	    justify the money);

Dunno about everybody, but certainly I've heard the argument "Sure, I'd love
to have a lispm, but my budget is only $15k. (or 20k or whatever). I can get
much more for my money with <SUN, IBM, ...>"

	    4- LispM market share directly measures distribution of intelligence in
	    the computer industry (all competent lisp developers have lispMs. The
	    market is saturated);


	    7- The LispM development environment is twenty years ahead of the
	    market, and will be the obsolete industry standard of 2000.

Parts of the LispM dev. env. are showing up in Allegro, Harliquin, etc. and
the trend will likely continue. What is Symbolics doing to stay out in front
(a good topic for this years SLUG btw, so if you have any thoughts, send
them to me: I'm on the program committee centered on Genera issues).

	    8- LispMs are too expensive for universities, which are turning to
	    Lisp in Unix environments.

Too true. For a variety of reasons. The main one is the cost of a seat; to
industry the cost of a lispm vs. conventional machine is small compared to
the cost of the engineer. Grad students are cheap though :-) so the cost is
much much larger. We have many students who could be more productive on a
lispm and would do so if they knew they could always get (convenient)
access; they use AKCL on their Sun instead because that's the most available
machine, and it's what's in their office (most convenient). AND they know
they will have such an environment available when they move on... Also since
most coursework not in AI uses the UNIX machines, learning one less OS seems
a plus to them.