[FoRK] Larry Masinter talk today: origins of Lisp at PARC & modern Medley

Gregory Alan Bolcer greg at bolcer.org
Tue Dec 8 10:48:10 PST 2020

Just yesterday I dusted off my lisp skills.  Wikipedia had and entry and 
CAR and CDR which seemed wrong.    I thought:
(car (1 2)) = 1
(cdr (1 2)) = (2)

But the wikipedia article said cdr was the atom of '2', not the list of 


Thus, the expression (car (cons x y)) evaluates to x, and (cdr (cons x 
y)) evaluates to y.

I was going to write a correction, but gave up.  I am a Lisp aficionado 
to the core.


On 12/8/2020 10:30 AM, Rohit Khare wrote:
> Short notice, as it's today at 3PM Pacific:
> https://www.meetup.com/LispNYC/events/vqhmbpybcqblb/
> I'm looking forward to learning more, but also seeing how Larry's making
> the most of his post-Adobe career. I was glad to see him at the Computer
> History Museum last year, with the same sparkle in his eye :)
> Stay safe,
>    Rohit
> PS. The event link isn't resolving for me, so LMK if you make it:
> https://meet.lisp.nyc/LarryMasinterTheMedleyInterlispProjectStatusAndPlans
> Medley Interlisp is the environment from the old Xerox Lisp machines, which
>> was spun out to a company called Envos, which then turned into Venue.
>> It was once a commercial software development environment aimed at the
>> 1980s AI market, and it contained many influential ideas. Notecards, for
>> example, was a conceptual predecessor of Apple's Hypercard, and D-EDIT and
>> S-EDIT are sort of the canonical ancestral structure editors. Masterscope
>> and the "file package" included system-management tools that combined
>> features of version control and build systems, with comprehensive cross
>> referencing support.
>> Medley was the latest release of the Xerox Lisp environment, before the
>> whole environment was renamed Medley. It was originally written in
>> Interlisp (a dialect separate from the MACLISP/Common Lisp tradition, with
>> its own ancestry), but later, Common Lisp also became part of the
>> environment. Medley includes WYSIWYG text editor (TEdit), email organizer
>> (Lafite), performance tools (Spy) and many other libraries and user
>> contributed code (from the 1980s).
>> The 1992 ACM Software System Award, to Daniel G. Bobrow, Richard R.
>> Burton, L. Peter Deutsch, Ronald M. Kaplan, Larry Masinter, Warren Teitelman
>> for their pioneering work in programming environments that integrated
>> source-language debuggers, fully compatible integrated
>> interpreter/compiler, automatic change management, structure-based editing,
>> logging facilities, interactive graphics, and analysis/profiling tools in
>> the Interlisp system.
>> At this point the base system is usable enough on 64-bit OSes and quite
>> fast (A $40 pi runs Lisp > 150 times faster than a $30,000 Xerox 1108 in
>> 1982).
>> https://interlisp.org
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