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[Axiom-developer] Re: Doyen

From: Tim Daly Jr.
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: Doyen
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2005 12:55:27 +0100

On Wed, 2005-11-16 at 02:11 +0000, address@hidden

> Is Maxima compiled on GCL as a Common Lisp application?

I don't know.  It is possible to compile Maxima on a Common Lisp, but I
don't think that GCL is a complete Common Lisp implementation yet.  I
think Raymond Toy was responsible for getting it working on CMUCL, but

> I think upgrading the Axiom source to Common Lisp is something
> that should be done with high priority. If I had the necessary
> skill, I would probably be working on that right now.

The first part of working on something is acquiring the skills you need.
I recommend studying a good book:

> I thought Axiom was supposed to be quite portable - having been
> previous compiled on a long list of pre-historic lisps. 

It's important to distinguish between being ported and being portable.
Axiom has been ported many times.  The cumulative damage is pretty

> From
> what I understood, from Tim, just about the only thing
> preventing it from be Common Lisp was some non-standard use
> of packages. Ignoring any revulsion you might feel for working
> on awfully horrible code, having worked on moving Axiom to SBCL,
> is it your experience that the changes required to make Axiom
> conform to the Common Lisp standard are much more than that?

Axiom has been ported by writing compatibility layers that emulate the
Lisp it was being ported from.  At least for the code I looked at, it's
no more a Common Lisp program than it is a CLTL1 (a previous
semi-standard) program.  It's more like a Maclisp/VMLisp program that
predates any semblance of modern style. It also looks like a number of
unfortunately bright hackers cut their teeth on it.  Take this with a
grain of salt, however, because I only spent a few weeks working with
the code, and haven't read all of it.

> It's a pejorative term. I know people still use terminal emulators,
> but the point of Doyen is a graphical user interface. I don't like
> the idea of slapping some console-style terminal emulation inside
> a web browser and calling that progress.

Anybody sufficiently bright is going to want a commandline eventually.
I agree, it's not a good idea to put a commandline for a program that
will only run locally in a web browser.  In general, I don't think it's
a hot idea to use a web browser as an interface for software meant to
run locally.  It's like telephoning somebody in the next room.

> But perhaps I completely mis-understood. What is a 'web repl'?

REPL is a term that is defined in the first chapter or two of basically
every introductory work written about Lisp.  If you don't know what it
is, it would be a good thing to look up.  A web repl is a repl on a web

> With the proper tools, I think a web application (even in lisp)
> should probably be somewhere between 100 to 1000 lines of code
> so I don't know how much opportunity that would give me to learn
> much more about lisp. :)

This is like saying that every rope is 10 feet long, and that wouldn't
be enough to learn about tying knots.  It's just so wrong.

>  Zope works. It has
> some very high level applications available off-the-shelf and
> it required about 100 lines of python code to integrate with
> Axiom - so why not use it?

Hey, why should anybody care what you use?  Pick your poison.  If you do
the heavy lifting on a project, you have to use something that you want
to play with.  

Usually, the more talk about a project, the less is actually happening
with it. 


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