[Openmcl-devel] Docstring question

Phil pbpublist at comcast.net
Mon Sep 18 04:49:34 PDT 2006

On Sep 18, 2006, at 3:04 AM, Gary Byers wrote:

> It's probably some mixture of all of the above (er, below).  MCL  
> originally ran
> on 1MB MacPlus machines, and eliminating doc strings from the  
> memory image
> (they were distributed in a separate file) was a simple way of  
> trying to
> keep the memory footprint small (if all doc strings added up to a  
> few hundred
> Kbytes, that would have had a very significant impact on things;  
> getting
> rid of them (moving them to a separate file) was low-hanging fruit.

As I remember those days and shudder, I suspected that might have  
something to do with it ;-)

> OpenMCL started as an attempt to develop a lisp for embedded systems
> (spacecraft, robots) and even though the constraints were a little
> different that was still a memory-constrained environment, so some of
> the things that MCL had done to keep the footprint small (like
> neglecting to retain doc strings) were still useful.

Anything related to Ron Garret's accounts of Lisp at JPL?  Also, in  
this scenario, wouldn't it be possible to strip docstrings out of an  
image as part of packaging the application?

> It was only about a year ago that the bootstrapping processed started
> preserving doc strings from the files in the level-0 directory, and
> around that time that Bryan O'Connor tried to ensure that many CL
> functions and variables and documented CCL package things had doc  
> strings.

In addition to being useful in the REPL, they are also very handy to  
someone perusing the source code and trying to figure out what's  
going on behind the scenes.

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