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[Axiom-developer] Re: gcl, shared libraries

From: C Y
Subject: [Axiom-developer] Re: gcl, shared libraries
Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 11:14:18 -0700 (PDT)

--- Camm Maguire <address@hidden> wrote:

> if 1) GCL is currently deficient for axiom use in some regard and 2)
> we have difficulties addressing said deficiencies via changes to GCL.
> If both of these are true, I would greatly appreciate you and/or
> others letting me know the details, as it is and has been a goal of
> mine to ensure that gcl remains optimal for axiom use.

Camm, while it cannot (yet) be said to be part of Axiom, the cl-web
code does not work on GCL at the moment.  There are two obvious things
I know of and probably others I don't (yet):  1)  read-sequence doesn't
seem to be present in GCL 2) I'm using trivial-utf-8 for string->array
and array->string functionality, and I don't know how or if that would
work on GCL.

> I must say I'm less than enamored with the cl-foo library development
> model. Its source level as opposed to binary, and there is no shared
> library memory savings.  Beyond which, there really doesn't appear to
> be much of anything available which is not provided elsewhere in
> faster, smaller, shareable C libraries, though I haven't made any
> exhaustive study here. 

I'm sure there are a lot of opinions on this one.  I'm not quite clear
as to why the source level is objectionable (don't we simply compile it
at build time anyway?).  I like the all-lisp solution for the simple
reason that it avoids any reliance on the behavior of the C language or
compilers, but that's just me.

> The primary goal should be in fulfilling the ansi-standard and 
> supporting applications from the past, while offering non-standard
> interfaces to newer functionality in external shared C libraries.
> Do we really think cl-fad has a thirty year lifetime ahead of it?

Is there any reason to suppose it does not?  If it does not, why not? 
Can it be improved to the point where it DOES have that lifetime ahead
of it?  Will the problem it solves go away as Lisp implementations

> How will we coordinate with all these cl-library developers external
> to the axiom project when they move on to other things in life?  
> Will we read all their source and maintain it ourselves? 

If that source is literate (in the true literate programming sense)
this should actually be possible.  Also, if the solutions developed are
good enought that not many changes NEED to be made, it becomes even
more viable.

The core of TeX has not changed in any major way for a LONG time, and
it is STILL the best tool for the problem it solves.  This is the kind
of development I would like to see Axiom pursue - the solution of
problems in such a fashion that there is no need or incentive to solve
them again.

There should be NO dark corners or black magic anywhere in the software
chain.  We should be able to look up the code for any point in the
process, and read the explanations for purpose and method wherever we
need to.  I know this is not possible at the moment, and maybe not for
decades, but it is still a goal I would like to work towards.

Anyway.  Thank you for the work you have been putting into GCL to help
support Axiom!  My only concrete question at the moment really relates
to read-sequence - is this something GCL plans to add?


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