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

Ken Meltsner meltsner at alum.mit.edu
Fri Dec 11 17:57:05 PST 2020


JavaScript is close to Lisp in many ways -- a prototype-based object
system, not the more common class-based, makes it much more amenable to
self-mutilation.

If you can implement "an extended subset" of Common Lisp in ~100KB
(compressed) [ParenScript -- ClojureScript is bigger.], I'd think there had
to be quite a bit of shared genetics.

I didn't realize just how much Lispian genetic material is in JavaScript,
though -- Brendan Eich was hired to put Scheme into Netscape's browser
originally, and for various reasons borrowed heavily from Self and other
Lisp-like languages after a strategic deal with Sun resulted in
"JavaScript" in the browser instead.

Pretty good paper on the history of JavaScript (as well as other
interesting languages) at this year's History of Programming Languages
conference.

ParenScript:

https://common-lisp.net/project/parenscript/

https://gitlab.common-lisp.net/parenscript/parenscript

HOPL IV paper on JavaScript:
https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/3386327

Disclaimer: I work for Oracle which acquired the trademark on JavaScript
when it acquired Sun.

Ken Meltsner


On Fri, Dec 11, 2020 at 2:29 PM Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> 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.
>
> Stephen
>
> 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
> 650-450-8649 <tel:650-450-8649> | fax:703-995-0407 <fax:> | sdw at lg.net
> <mailto:sdw at lig.net> | https://VolksDroid.org
> <https://VolksDroid.org> | https://BlueScholar.org <
> https://BlueScholar.org> | https://sdw.st/in
>
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