[Openmcl-devel] OpenMCL Versions

Hamilton Link helink at sandia.gov
Thu Aug 17 17:48:06 PDT 2006

Strictly speaking, for LispWorks it should have been more nearly a 
matter of #ifdeffing things or comparable cut-and-pasting, because 
LispWorks ran on x86 on windows and linux already.  So if they get a 
dozen customers they're probably not far from recovering their expenses.

In contrast, it's been quite some time since openmcl ran on something 
with less than 32 or however many general-purpose registers (well... I 
think there was a strongarm port, what does that have 16 regs?), and 
it's a big hassle to change the way a compiler does register allocation, 
particularly when it's a lisp compiler which has to allocate registers 
in a garbage-collection-friendly way, and wants to have a lot of things 
with register-speed access to begin with.  If you find LispWorks 
difficult to afford it will probably be difficult to adequately 
compensate Gary for the required effort... Plus for something comparable 
to an openmcl port fee, it's my understanding any Intel Mac Mini or new 
iMac user can buy a Merom (already on the market, just not in Apples, 
right?), pop it in their system,* and be running the 64-bit version of 
Tiger, without distracting Gary from bigger things.

'scuse me, I think I'm going to go run out and buy a Mini, I've just got 
to try this...


* OK, so any Apple Mini or iMac owner who wants the hassle and doesn't 
mind probably invalidating their warrantee...

Phil wrote:

>Any language/application that includes its own compiler (i.e.  
>OpenMCL) can't take advantage of the 'little checkbox'/ifdefs that  
>other apps can.  They must to write the behind the scenes code to  
>make the checkbox/ifdefs possible.  It's a tough situation as it's  
>bad enough that there was one architecture switch, but now we're on  
>the second in less than a year (I've always bought the rumor that  
>Apple never wanted IA32 but had to use it from a product timing  
>standpoint.)  I'm sure the Lispworks guys aren't any happier... they  
>just got their IA32 product out the door a couple of weeks before WWDC.
>The first generation of Intel machines has me experiencing a bit of  
>deja vu as I seem to recall the first generation of PPC machines were  
>rather quickly not capable of running later software releases due to  
>differences/limitations between the 601 processors and it's  
>successors.  It will likely not be to the same degree, but does seem  
>like the same type situation.
>On Aug 17, 2006, at 4:29 PM, Justin Fagnani-Bell wrote:
>> I'm surprised at the amount of work you
>>estimate. I know hardly anything about the x86 ISA or what's involved
>>in a Lisp implementation (I gather it's very low level). It's too bad
>>that it can't be written so that a few #DEFs and compiler flags will
>>produce either a IA32 or EM64T version.
>Openmcl-devel mailing list
>Openmcl-devel at clozure.com

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