Lisp Machine

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Oskar45
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Lisp Machine

Unread postby Oskar45 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:46 am

Anyone on here ever had/worked on one? Besides SGI's, it once upon a time was my dream box. But although in comparison the former were price-wise a bargain, I never could afford the latter. And just having a copy of the "Lisp Machine Manual" is not really an adequate substitute :-)
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pentium
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby pentium » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:35 pm

I ran xlisp on my compaq Portable 386 but it seems to be really cranky about running anything.
I really want to get a LISP interpreter running on my PDP-11 though.
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby robespierre » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:48 am

pentium: you could try Texas Instruments PC-Scheme, it should work on a 386. Pretty nice IDE for the time (mid 80s).

I had access to a Symbolics machine during school and kept some of the manuals. Like some other systems that thrived and perished before the WWW, much of the information available today is incomplete or wrong. For a while I archived information about several obscure lisp machines designed in France, Japan, and Norway, but bit rot ate the linked pages and it was too time consuming to fix everything.
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Oskar45
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby Oskar45 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:38 am

robespierre wrote:pentium: you could try Texas Instruments PC-Scheme, it should work on a 386. Pretty nice IDE for the time (mid 80s).
Indeed, I'd Texas Instruments PC-Scheme [conforming to the Revised3 Report] running on my IBM PS-Half. In fact, I still (!) have the very same version on my HP 200LX - for sure, not a speed demon, but probably the most portable device capable of running Lisp-like stuff ever :-)
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:51 am

I'm still looking for a working MacIvory card. I don't really have the space (or room on my electricity bill) for a full-on Symbolics workstation, but this fits perfectly with my classic Mac fetish, and I have a number of NuBus Macs that will accommodate one.
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby pentium » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:25 am

EVERYBODY wants a lisp card (or a transputer for that matter). They have been in high demand for years yet nobody who owns them seems to actually use them for anything.
At the prices people keep asking it's far easier to use a software interpreter than hold out for a Nubus/ISA/EISA card.
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby Oskar45 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:05 pm

pentium wrote:At the prices people keep asking it's far easier to use a software interpreter than hold out for a Nubus/ISA/EISA card.
CLISP [not to be confused with CLIPS] is a good Common Lisp implementation which can be compiled under Irix/MipsPro C without problems. Of course, it's no Lisp Machine where everything from the operating system to the UI is written in (Zeta)Lisp. Still, it's worth the effort.
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby robespierre » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:48 pm

On EBay a couple months ago, a MacIvory II (a NuBus card that runs at half the speed of the latest and best hardware Symbolics released) sold for $360. That's a sight better than the last one to appear, four years ago, that was being offered at $1200 with a IIfx.

in 2005 I learned that an XL1201 was sold via an email exchange for $5000. That is the desktop version that cannot support color graphics; by comparison I have heard of an XL1200 selling for $10,000. The only machine to appear on EBay that year, an XL1201 bundled with a UX400 VME board inside a Sun 3/140 went for the paltry price of $510.

The machines attract high prices because of their rarity. Although roughly 20,000 computers (including NuBus and VME boards) were manufactured by Symbolics, very few survive. A more economical option is to use the hardware emulator they developed for Alpha AXP workstations after their Chapter 11. Since it uses the same embedded computer architecture as the MacIvory and UX systems, the user experience is similar.
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby hamei » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:16 pm

robespierre wrote:in 2005 I learned that an XL1201 was sold via an email exchange for $5000. That is the desktop version that cannot support color graphics; by comparison I have heard of an XL1200 selling for $10,000.

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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby geo » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:56 pm

got back from my oral surgery (2 wisdom tooth and 2 molar, all removed one time) damn it was an awefull experience.. lesson learn, always listen to your doc and dentist :(

anyway, because of this post, i really got into LISP and the LISP machine and while resting for 5 days i stumbled on this site: http://www.loper-os.org/?cat=11

his idea really interesting, tempt me to buy a FPGA kit but geez spent 1400USD for the surgery ouch.. now its my wallet that hurts hehe
his idea of a "sane" computer is really cool! hehe any comments?
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby robespierre » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:03 pm

I will note that lisp machines (like Forth and some other topics) are a magnet for dreamers and crackpots.
Often these projects get started with only negative goals: they know emphatically what they do not want, but have only a vague idea of steps to achieve a coherent vision. Backwards dependencies are also a symptom: for instance, declaring that "conventional architectures" are "hostile" to high-level languages, then proposing to implement a new architecture for which no software exists. This is a type of tunnel vision. Another is the conviction of originality; surely my ideas are iconoclastic and new, there is nothing to learn from academic papers!
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby kjaer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:39 pm

robespierre wrote:magnet for dreamers and crackpots.


this.
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geo
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby geo » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:08 am

robespierre wrote:I will note that lisp machines (like Forth and some other topics) are a magnet for dreamers and crackpots.


kjaer wrote:
robespierre wrote:magnet for dreamers and crackpots.


this.


hahaha then thanks for waking me up then ;)
it almost suck my soul hehe
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby Oskar45 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:12 am

robespierre wrote:I will note that lisp machines (...) are a magnet for dreamers and crackpots.
Within the context of the present thread, is this to be construed as flaming?

While I don't consider myself a crackpot, I'd rather dream of perusing a Symbolics or running Lisp on my SGI boxes than struggle, e.g., with a C-machine :-)
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Re: Lisp Machine

Unread postby robespierre » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:03 pm

I'm simply giving a warning. Do you really mean that you've never come across that type on the internet?
I suppose I may be unfortunate in having long subscribed to certain usenet groups and seen the assortment of mental defectives that plague them periodically. I don't mean that dreaming is necessarily bad, but you can tell that for some, the idea of "dream machines" (pace ted nelson) is rather more poetic feeling than technical concept. Ideals, if that's what they become, have a way of being unshakeable by facts and no real progress can be made.

I'm not entirely convinced that there is such a thing as a "C-machine", since C has been made to work on Crays and Symbolics too as long as the code is truly portable. It's the operating systems (that old research area that rob pike declared dead) that create dependencies on C compilers and their ills. At any rate, the architectures of the world vary in too many dimensions to pretend that they break down along the same lines as HLLs.
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