February 22, 2005
Comparing Lisp Implementations on OS X

In the comp.lang.lisp thread “MCL for OS X worth the price?”, Raffael Cavallaro surveys the current Lisp implementations for OS X:

I run now, or have run, just about every common lisp that runs on Mac OS X. These include, in no particular order:

  • Armed Bear Common Lisp
  • Allegro Common Lisp (trial version)
  • MCL
  • OpenMCL
  • LispWorks (4.4)
  • clisp
  • cmucl
  • sbcl

I'll rate these on the categories that would matter to most Mac OS X programmers - Carbon, Cocoa, speed (of compiled code), compiler, and issues (i.e., problems), and unusual features.

Rainer Joswig follows up with his take:

LispWorks is by far the best Lisp for Mac OS X right now - especially because of the Cocoa-based IDE.

BUT, LispWorks is also far away from what would be possible under Mac OS X. If one would develop a good native Lisp IDE on Mac OS X, it would be possible to go far beyond what LispWorks does support. Actually I think there is an opportunity for a commercial Lisp with a much better Mac-OS-X-like user interface and much better support for and integration of Mac OS X technology (Webkit, SpotLight, Quartz Extreme, the font engine, Quicktime, AppleEvents, Rendezvous, iLife, Interface Builder, ...). For Mac OS 9, MCL was this Lisp. On Mac OS X there is currently no Lisp that targets the Mac OS X that way.

I agree with Rainer, none of the implementations are 0wning OS X like MCL did with Mac OS 7, 8 and 9.

Posted by jjwiseman at February 22, 2005 05:34 PM

Thank you for posting on something googlable :). I finally found this. My two cents, from a newbie...

1.LispWorks personalEdition $0 is pretty good, it would be better if I could figure out how to do a run/debug cycle while still seeing my code. I couldn't figure out how to do that?? And of course the cut/paste/pfkeys are annoyingly nonstandard.

2.GnuEmacs.app + Slime doesn't produce commonLisp, and I need that for my coursework, so that doesn't work.

3.Since I'm reduced to the CLI for the debug cycle, I may just use JEdit for editing, since it does the syntax coloring pretty well.

4.Eclipse has a plugin that needs a patch, and I haven't figured out how to get that all working. If it could work, that might be a good solution. (Although I do find E quite heavy on my machine) http://www.czempin.de/nicolai/blog/archives/patch.txtclipse


Posted by: Anne on February 26, 2005 06:34 PM

What you mean by "doesn't produce commonLisp"?

Posted by: Engelke on February 28, 2005 09:27 AM

would be the correct link to the patch.

You need to get the Version that the patch is for, of course (version 0.0.3):

Any progress (which is currently slow to the point of standing still) in the Editor can be found at this link: http://www.czempin.de/nicolai/blog/archives/cat_lisp.php

Please note, however, that it is only basically just an add-on to Eclipse's editor that is aware of Lisp syntax. I still have plans to expand it to a fully-featured IDE one day. Feel free to kick my ass and/or contribute patches.

Next task is definitely to merge the patch into a version 0.0.4.

Posted by: Nicolai Czempin on March 3, 2005 06:18 AM

Has anyone done any multi-threading in either MCL or clisp? I was wondering how well the different environments support threading and/or sockets.


Posted by: Travis Rose on March 24, 2005 10:36 AM

LispWorks on Mac OS X is sick a joke. You have to wait and wait for the garbage collector. It's unusable. Let's see version 5...
Franz is also a joke (no GUI). How come no GUI and they want to charge so much for it?
How can lispers expect to be taken seriously, if even commercial support sucks?

Mock Scheme and Python all you want, they have GUIs...

Fuck. How will Lisp win this way?

Posted by: on January 8, 2007 08:32 PM
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