[Openmcl-devel] Is OpenMCL ready for use?

Stonewall Ballard sb.list at sb.org
Sun Dec 15 13:32:18 PST 2002

I'm becoming very encouraged by the MCL 5 beta and the OpenMCL efforts.

I'm trying to convince myself that I can use one or both of these to develop
competitive desktop applications. "Competitive" in this case means that
users won't suspect that the app was built using Lisp, they won't find
anything amiss in performance or size. So long as the compiler is good, the
GC has no perceptible pauses, I can escape to C if necessary, and I have
complete and reasonably convenient access to the system services, I should
be able to use it.

The Cocoa binding for OpenMCL is most interesting. Obviously, there's a lot
to be done to make this usable, but it appears that the foundation is there
and works.

I'm not clear on whether MCL 5 is stuck with Carbon, but I suspect that it
is so long as it uses CFM. I have no interest in OS 9 apps, so I'd rather
use a Mach-O based system.

My question is whether I should feel confident in moving ahead with OpenMCL
now, or whether there's something missing that's going to bite me. I'm sure
that I could spend too much time building out the Cocoa development tools,
but that's part of the fun of using Lisp environments.

I'm most concerned about the ability of OpenMCL to create self-contained
Cocoa apps. The package for the example Cocoa app worked well, but I don't
see any automatic way to rip out the compiler or otherwise prune the image.
Is this hard to do?

The other concern I have is that this list seems dead lately. It's been two
weeks since there was a post. Is OpenMCL proceeding at a pace to be
reasonably usable within the next 4-6 months?

And last, I understand the difficulties in interpreting the license with a
system like this, but as a practical matter, do I have to ship each app with
some sort of patching facility (e.g. menu access to a load dialog) that lets
end users change the code in the base image? That seems like a great way to
confuse users and create a real support nightmare.

TIA for any info.

 - Stoney

Stonewall Ballard 
stoney at sb.org           http://stoney.sb.org/

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