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[Gcl-devel] lisp and gc

From: Camm Maguire
Subject: [Gcl-devel] lisp and gc
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 16:05:32 -0500
User-agent: WEMI/1.13.7 (Shimada) FLIM/1.13.2 (Kasanui) Emacs/20.7 (i386-debian-linux-gnu) MULE/4.0 (HANANOEN)

Greetings!  A subscriber to the gcl-devel list suggested that I write
you to ask your advise on developing and debugging garbage collecting
systems in lisp.  I've taken on the task of maintaining GCL, which has
its own mark/sweep collector implemented in C.  I thought I could do
some good here, as, though I have very little experience with lisp,
I'm pretty good with C and gdb.  What I've found in trying to port gcl
to a number of new architectures is that gc errors are *very* hard to
debug.  gdb watchpoints and breakpoints can actually change the
location and/or result of the error, or even eliminate it entirely.  

So I was wondering if I could ask your advise as to the best method to
debug lisp gc.  My first instinct is to try to externalize it, or
otherwise at least temporarily disable it, to rule out errors in other
locations.  I'm in the process of extracting the built in gc and
linking in the Boehm collector as a compile-time option toward this
end.  But if you have any other suggestions, they would be most
appreciated.  Right now, we have one family of platforms running gcl
flawlessly, Linux i386.

Take care,

Camm Maguire                                            address@hidden
"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  --  Baha'u'llah

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