Subject: Re: On Lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 08 Sep 2001 10:10:57 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Tim Moore <>
> It's true as far as it goes, but it's a stretch along many axes to say
> that Allegro CL "works everywhere" in the same sense that Java or Perl
> "work everywhere" (and I'm talking about perceptions as much as anything,
> so I feel comfortable in not being percise about "work" and "everywhere"
> in the latter case).  AFAIK Allegro is the most portable of the commercial
> implementations, yet it doesn't have a Macintosh implementation, doesn't
> run on IBM mainframes (does it?), etc.  Furthermore I suspect that it's
> not practical cost-wise to deploy an application to every box in an
> enterprise using Allegro CL in the way you could using Perl or Java; I've
> never asked and could be wrong, but even the fact that I would have to ask
> is a barrier to it running everywhere.

  The "have to ask" part is naturally a marketing problem.  There are many
  open issues in how to market Common Lisp better to more people.  I am in
  general no fan of marketing practices anywhere.  (Mostly I think it is a
  dishonest and disgraceful business, even while dating a copy writer for a
  large Madison Avenue company. :)  Marketing to engineers generally fails,
  too, because they want information that is so much more cost-efficient to
  wait for them to ask for and employ somebody to answer than to write up
  everything up front.  If they do not want to ask, we get a deadlock.  I
  have no idea how to break that deadlock, but it is clearly too expensive
  for, say, Franz Inc., to write and publish the kind of material that you
  would find published as regular books about, say, Zope.  The whole Common
  Lisp business is predicated on a much closer relationship between vendor
  and developer than most other languages and development tools.  Some do
  not want to contact the vendor to solve their problems, but I think this
  is silly of them.  I have had so many issues resolved by Franz Inc. folks
  over the past few years.  (Although I have gotten seriously miffed at the
  reluctance to listen to "because it is in the specification", and "I do
  not want a work-around when it is clearly non-conforming", so clearly
  they have sufficient success with prioritizing other customers needs.)

> Personally I'm very pleased about Allegro's portability, but it's the
> Mercedes of Lisp implementations in many ways.  As you move down the cost
> spectrum, the Lisp implementations that "work everywhere" are lacking in
> sexy features.

  Mostly because they are not requested and hard to get anybody to build.
  (This is the flip side of free software in small communities.  In effect,
  it works somewhat like taxation.  If you think that you will get less in
  return than you pay, you spend more time avoiding paying taxes than it
  would cost you do what you want and just pay it, which would lower taxes
  for all parties involved or at least get more in return for that paid.)