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Unix from Lispm. [was Symbolics prices (not only in Europe)]

    Date: Tue, 3 Sep 1991 18:38 EDT
    From: p2@porter.asl.dialnet.symbolics.com (Peter Paine)

	Date: Tue, 3 Sep 1991 18:02-0000
	From: DE@PHOENIX.SCH.Symbolics.COM (Doug Evans)

	    Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1991 04:19 PDT
	    From: p2@porter.asl.dialnet.symbolics.com (Peter Paine)

		 Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1991 21:44-0000
		 From: Reti@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM (Kalman Reti)


		 (My facetious suggestion of porting Unix to run under Genera would allow for
		 solve the Unix-system part of the problem.  This isn't as bad an idea as it
		 sounds; when we ported several VLSI tools to the Symbolics C the type-checking
		 found several unitialized variable-style bugs which would have caused wrong
		 answers on traditional architecture machines.)

	    On a parallel note, my 3600 console has what looks suspiciously to a
	    68000 based unix processor sleeping in it.

	    What is the history behind that?

	What a terrible assumption!!!  68000 series processors should NEVER be
	associated with UNIX!  They should be associated with the much more
	sane Macintosh computers.  (I ought to cc unix-haters on this one ;-)

	Symbolics used 68000 series processors in the FEP (front end processor)
	on 3600 family machines and on the original LEMO style console for the
	3600.  Newer consoles use less expensive 8048 microprocessors with
	on-chip PROM.

	The 68000s used were not programmed in UNIX, but with a proprietary
	crosscomplier called LIL (for Lisp-like Interpreter Langauage).

Lisp-like *Implementation* Language.  It was a Lisp-like language with a
static type system and by-hand memory allocation.

    I can't resist groveling in public.

    But ... (vainly attempting to pass the buck) a certain Phil Greenspun
    came over to the UK to have a hack on our 3600 in about 1983. It was his
    assertion that the original intention had been to have a wee unix
    processor available in the 3600 console. Maybe there was some confusion
    with the LMI/TI ambitions to integrate the virus and Lisp.

Philip was mistaken.

    I thought, finding the hacks demos a bit dull, that the XL3600 might
    have a play-station chipset embedded in the console just to while away
    idle hours.

    Wasn't LIL Howard Canon's baby? And what has become of him?

Oh, what the heck.

Both the old console and the FEP board in 36xx series machines have
68000s in them.  The FEP's 68000 ran a language called LIL, which was
the creation of Todd Matson, Bob Cassels, and Dave Stryker.  Later, both
Dave Plummer[-Linden] and I hacked LIL and authored NFep (the New FEP);
to the best of my knowledge, HIC had nothing to do with LIL.  (The LIL
compiler uses the same compiler technology as our Fortrash, Pascal, and
C compilers use, by the way.)

The console 68000 is programmed in a 68000 assembler language, except
that the language is embedded in Lisp.  It looks like an assembler that
uses parentheses, except you get to use incremental compilation, macros,
and other Lispy stuff.  Jim Kulp wrote the initial version of the
console microcode, and back in 1985 I wrote the version that everybody
is using right now, which "supports" serial lines, software controllable
brightness and volume, etc.

HIC is now at his own small company, called Teela, with Paul Robertson.