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Poor Sun timings, as competition...
[lots of stuff deleted]
Well, I don't care for the Sun as a development environment, but many of
our developers get along pretty well. Most of the Lispm users here had
been using them since about release 4 or 5, so their work habits didn't
include use of presentations; therefore, they don't miss the ability to
click on everything in sight. GNU Emacs is as good an editor as Zmacs,
and we have meta-dot, c-sh-E, c-sh-C, c-sh-M, c-sh-A all implemented in
GNU Emacs (by running Lisp in a subprocess (or on another network host)
with its I/O connected to an Emacs buffer). And running Lisp in an
Emacs buffer also provides a history mechanism.
Having used Symbolics exclusively for the past 7 years I recently started
using Sparcstation/Lucid/GNUEmacs for some part time work. On top of the
m-., c-sh-E, c-sh-C, c-sh-M, c-sh-A analogs that barmar mentioned, I wrote
some GNUEmacs command for issuing Lucid debugger commands with single
keystrokes. All of this makes the Sun marginally usable compared with the
Symbolics. The speed is the real kicker. Now having used a Sparcstation
I find my 3640 intollerably slow, so much so that the fancy user interface
doesn't seem worth it most of the time (though not always). It now is a
hard tradeoff. Four big things that lose miserably still in the Lucid
1) Lucid is very slow to respond to keyboard interrupts, and sometimes
never does. This can make debugging impossible.
2) Lucid doesn't check for stack overflow. If you have a run away
recursive loop, you crash the image.
3) The Lucid debugger doesn't put you in the lexical context of the
stack frame you are in. So you can't type expressions to the debugger
and reference arguments and local variables by name. I find this a pain
since one standard mode of debugging for me is to yank expressions from
the source code in an editor buffer and execute them in the debugger in
the context of the error. This is not possible in Lucid.
4) The GNUEmacs hacks for m-. c-sh-A etc. are just that: *HACKS*. They
are not supported. They are nice when the work, which is about 75% of
the time but they fail enough to be annoying and since they are not a
product they are unlikely to be fixed anytime soon.