[Openmcl-devel] OpenMCL Versions

Gary Byers gb at clozure.com
Thu Aug 17 12:32:23 PDT 2006

A port to 32-bit Intel hardware would probably take 3-4 months.  (That's
less time than the x86-64 port took, but some of the infrastructre it
uses can be shared.)

If you multiply 3.5 by the amount of money needed to support my decadent
extravagant lifestye each month ... you wind up with a number that's
in the mid-5-digits in US$.

Let's say that 5 millon 32-bit only Macs have been sold to date.  Of
that 5 million, some number (probably a fairly small number, sadly)
want to do lisp development in OpenMCL on their shiny new 32-bit Intel
Macs.  Of that number, -some- individuals may want and be able to
kick in money to pay for that port.

Are there 100 people who'd kick in $500 ?  50/$1000 ?  If so, they've
been mostly silent over the last year (and we haven't aggressively
tried to pursue this idea.)

Are there institutional users who want to make a significant
investment in something that doesn't address their long-term needs ?
That seems to be pretty much the same story (though we're very glad
to have found funding to do the 64-bit port.)  Admittedly, the
way that I'm phrasing that makes the assumption that a 32-bit Intel
port wouldn't address the long-term needs of such a user.

Is it in Clozure's interest to fund OpenMCL development ourselves,
when we're able to and when it involves something strategically
important ?  Yes, we've done so and plan to do so when we can.

Do at least a few other things seem to be more "strategically
important" than a 32-bit port ?  Yes, and people on this list
generally enumerate them on a regular basis.  That assessment
might be inaccurate and priorities could change.

I don't like losing users and potential users.  I didn't like Apple's
decision to switch hardware platforms twice over a two-year period
(ppc->ia32, ia32->x86-64) or to leave Rosetta incomplete, either.

If there are institutional users that we haven't been in contact with
or 500 to 1000 seriously interested individuals, I will be very
(pleasantly) surprised.

On Thu, 17 Aug 2006, Justin Fagnani-Bell wrote:

> On Aug 16, 2006, at 6:21 PM, Gary Byers wrote:
>> I think that there are stories on the net
>> indicating that people have successfully done CPU upgrades of some Mac
>> Intel systems, and it would be nice if this was a supported option
>> for people who want a speed boost and 64-bit capability but don't
>> want to replace their entire brand-new systems.
> minis and iMacs are socketed, and there are reports of Merom working
> in both. There's still going to be millions of them out there running
> 32-bit chips, and of course, millions of MacBook and MacBook Pro
> owners who can't upgrade.
> -Justin
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