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Re: [Axiom-developer] Sockets, threads and GUI<->Kernel communication

From: C Y
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Sockets, threads and GUI<->Kernel communication
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 08:10:08 -0700 (PDT)

--- Gabriel Dos Reis <address@hidden> wrote:

> | I do agree that threads are a more attractive way to implement the
> | client-server setup when dealing with a strictly local copy of
> | Axiom,
> If you agree with that, then you must agree with the over-engineering
> characterization.  We have more uses of Axiom as local copy than we
> have as a truly distributed system over network.

At the moment yes, but the future is unknown.  It is far easier to
design the system from the beginning to be flexible (client-server) and
then not use that ability.  Otherwise we might have to go back and do a
major redesign.  In my opinion the flexibility to have a non-local copy
of Axiom is worthwhile.  

I can't speak to this since I don't know the history, but I would not
be surprised to learn that thread support was not a viable option when
the original design was done, and since what was done worked no one
revisited the decisions until now.

> A 101 principle of engineering is to keep common thing simple.

Sockets seem to be a minor detail to me (not technically, perhaps) -
basically one more way to implement a client-server mechanism in
addition to threads/pipes/what have you.  You have worked more with the
code than I have - how much complexity does it really add?  What would
you propose that would be simpler without being less robust as well? 
My original impression of threads in lisp was that support was not
broadly developed and robust.  That may have changed since, but I would
want more information than I have now before I would be willing to
regard thread support in Lisp as something to depend on.

> | Allow Axiom to have both local and remote interface clients. 
> Well obviously, no improvement will remove the socket support.
> The point wasn't that socket are useless -- quite the contrary.  But,
> the engineering has forgotten the basics.

Thread support in lisp implementations is not usually described as
basic, in my experience... maybe to use but certainly not to implement.

Do you mean the CURRENT implementation of things in Axiom is not well
engineered, irrespective of the use of sockets?

> I'm not a windows developer, so patches are welcome.

I'll take a crack at NSIS once I have a Windows box available.


P.S.  I don't mean to be an irritation, Gaby - it's possible I'm just
lacking enough basic understanding to follow you correctly.  Is there
some introductory material on thread vs. socket issues that I could read?

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