How Close can you get to a Lisp Machine?

Fri Jan 20, 2012

Aside from the obvious, I mean.

Here's what I've been playing with for the past little while.

Those instructions still work surprisingly well, given that they were published all of 11 years ago. Here's what I did to replicate them

apt-get install clisp x-window-system
echo "/usr/bin/clisp" >> /etc/shells

I then installed quicklisp and ran (ql:add-to-init-file), then manually added the following to .clisprc:

(ql:quickload (list :cl-fad :cl-ppcre :trivial-shell))
(defun startx () (execute "/usr/bin/X11/xinit"))

and the following to my .xinitrc

clisp -x "(progn (ql:quickload (list :clx :cl-ppcre :stumpwm)) (funcall (intern \"STUMPWM\" :stumpwm)))"

After poking around for a little while and making sure everything worked approximately correctly, I ran chsh and set my shell to /usr/bin/clisp.

Performance-wise, it's surprisingly snappy given

a) what it's running on b) that there are at least 3 instances of clisp at work at any given time. It's a toy, but quite a quick and fun toy, actually.

Now, granted, the title is supposed to be taken with a grain of salt1, but this still feels like it's approaching the target. What I've got running is a fully open system2 that implements most of its components in Lisp (the shell is Clisp, the WM is Stump and the editor is Emacs). I suppose I could also throw in Closure3 and [Climacs]( as well, but I'm done playing for today.

  1. Since I've never used an actual LISP Machine or even the Open Genera System. Incidentally, these links are here to remind me to look into it when I have a spare moment, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to say "never used 'em".
  2. Except that it uses b43-fwcutter for the wireless card.
  3. As an aside, that meme-space is getting pretty crowded. To the point that I have to disambiguate in conversation. There's Clojure (the language), Clozure (the Common Lisp implementation) and Closure (the common-lisp based browser/html-parser)

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