Subject: Re: help! absolute beginner
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1998/12/07
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* (Georg Bauer)
| Exactly. With commercial applications, this greatly differs:
| >- you are free to fix the bugs you never wanted to fix.
| You are not free to fix the bugs you never wanted to fix. In fact, often
| you don't have the sources to fix it.

  I have fixed some thirty-odd problems in Allegro CL with advise before I
  got source code, and once I got a load of source with the commercial
  support agreement, I fixed yet more problems.  it appears that my fixes
  are migrating into Franz Inc's own code base.  however, it often takes a
  whole day to write a good bug report, and only an hour or so to tweak
  some behavior in the source.  for some reason, navigating in the source
  code that came with Allegro CL had only one obstacle: the IF* macro.  the
  rest was a breeze.  :)

| >- you are free to implement the functionality you
| >  never wanted to program yourself
| You might be possible to add the functionality you need but the company
| never want's to implement.  In fact, as soon as you want to fix things in
| the lowest levels of the product, you are most often lost.  It is better
| with Lisp, since Lisp is much better customizeable than C++-Compilers,
| but the problem still exists.

  well, _my_ Allegro CL 5.0 now does

(format nil "~,,' ,4:B" (get-universal-time))
=> "1011 1010 0001 0110 1000 0111 1110 1001"

  because I needed this behavior and didn't feel like writing my own FORMAT
  substitute or function to hack numbers and suck.  the changes were
  actually fairly simple.

| >- you are free to wade through large amounts of complicated
| >  source code you never wanted to look at
| Yes, that is definitely much better with commercial products where you
| don't get source at all.  You might get _some_ source, as with most Lisps,
| but that is not a quite common case for commercial software.

  all Allegro CL licensees receive a lot of source code with their (signed)
  support agreement.  not the internals, of course, but the functions you
  would normally call or need to understand.

| No, I definitely prefer high-quality Open Source [TM] software.  Makes
| living easier, especial in my field of work.  Of course, there is much
| crap out there.  But actually with free software, you don't have to pay
| for crap, like is the case with commercial ones.

  I don't pay for crappy software to begin with.  why do other people?  if
  you are implying that commercial Common Lisp implementations are crap, I
  think you have an attitude problem so big you should be dismissed as a
  lunatic, like the other "Free Software" fanatic who posts occasionally to
  this newsgroup.

  The Microsoft Dating Program -- where do you want to crash tonight?