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

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Dec 11 14:22:05 PST 2020

I just saw Larry Masinter a few years ago, with his wife I think, at the decentralized computing event in SF I believe.  He and I 
first talked for hours at an IETF plenary in Washington, DC when I was part of the Presence & IM working group, circa 1999.  I was 
representing myself helping to try to standardize an open BuddyList/IM approach.  Barry Appelman walked into the meeting with 
representatives of each faction where I was already sitting.  That might have come out better had Larry been interested.

I remember him justifying CRLF in IETF protocols, security requirements, etc.

I dabbled in Lisp / ELisp, but not like you guys.  I diversified in Forth, Postscript (and my own implementation of a 
Postscript-like language to do a pre-web text-based scrolling browser-like forms app with scripting embedded in the page), C++, etc.

The ability of Javascript to hack its own environment, including HTML / DOM, creating new language abilities, reminds me a bit of 
Lisp.  Other than Forth and Postscript, I can't think of another language that allows that so much self-hackery.  OK, I'm leaving 
Ruby out deliberately.


On 12/8/20 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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*Stephen D. Williams*
Founder: VolksDroid, Blue Scholar Foundation
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