[Openmcl-devel] Lisp on the iPhone

Brian Mastenbrook brian at mastenbrook.net
Thu Jun 12 18:34:30 UTC 2008

On Jun 12, 2008, at 1:16 PM, Andrew Shalit wrote:

> As for the restrictions on developers: It's true those would seem to
> disallow Lisp, smalltalk, a JVM, etc.  This may be a firm long-term
> policy, or it might just be an interim artifact of Apple figuring out
> their security measures.  All iPhone applications need to be signed,
> and signatures are generated by Apple for approved developers.  I'm
> not sure how that could work in the face of interpreters or compilers
> residing on the iPhone.  But maybe they'll figure out a way to let it
> happen for select tools.

Since Apple's sandboxing implementation seems to be laughable at best,  
they no doubt want to ensure that any interpreter does its own  
sandboxing well enough to be trusted. I'd imagine Adobe and Sun could  
get an exemption for Flash and Java. Squeak or any of the existing CL  
implementations (aside from ABCL)... probably not so easy. A native  
Lisp environment may also not be an easy sell as the native compilers  
tend to break on major OS revisions.

The most interesting possibility to me would be Microsoft putting  
Silverlight and the CLR/DLR on the iPhone. An environment which hosts  
Python and Ruby could also no doubt host an acceptable implementation  
of Common Lisp. I chatted with Gary Byers briefly about this at  
ILC'05. Many of the issues that the Common Larceny developers had  
getting Scheme on the CLR (efficient call/cc and tail-calling) are not  
an issue for CL, and the early-unwind exceptions problem has already  
been addressed in ABCL. Running CL in the browser would be pretty  
cool, too :-)
Brian Mastenbrook
brian at mastenbrook.net

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