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Re: Allegro Composer vs Symbolics

   Posted-Date: Sat, 31 Mar 90 09:46:40 EST
   Date: Sat, 31 Mar 90 09:46:40 EST
   From: Richard Billington <buff%pravda@gatech.edu>

   [ . . . ]

   Want a chilling thought? Say you wanted to buy a Symbolics and
   some state institution you work for insists that it go out for
   bid. How much difference do you think some dweeb in a gov't
   purchasing office is going to see between all of the aforementioned
   lisp development environments? Probably about $15K. For now, I
   can make robustness arguments that might win, and (fortunately)
   I can make compatability arguments that do win. Its not clear to
   me that functionality is going to remain a convincing argument
   for long.

We are going through precisely this process now.  And when you roll in
the yearly maintenance costs, the difference is even greater.  And
when you factor in the special precautions you have to take in the
sacred name of System Security to protect LispMs from (c'mon admit it,
people -- mostly imaginary) "threats", things get still darker.

Compatability arguments *don't* always win, because even though you
can justifiably claim that the Genera environment is vastly superior for
continuing development work, you are still faced with the
counter-argument that eventually your work will have to be ported to a
more "cost-effective" environment for the customer (yes, outside of
universities, even basic research projects have what you might call
"customers" and "deliverables"), and that the cost of *that* will
offset whatever gains you've made during the development cycle.  You
sort of reach this point where, rather than fight unending fire from
the financial people, you have to give them what they want in order to
continue your work.  It's a case of the pen (the one which signs your
purchase orders) being mightier than the sword.