Practical Lisp 2008

A little more than three years ago there was a thread in comp.lang.lisp about what people were working on in Common Lisp. I found the replies, some summarized here, quite inspirational; they were from people doing practical stuff (even Real Work) with Common Lisp, beyond things like going through Project Euler or doing exercises from SICP. (Not that those aren't fine things to do, but.)

Let's update this. What are you using Common Lisp for in 2008? What are you using to do it? I'll start:

I mostly use Common Lisp to make graphics toys at To that end I'm always looking for new ways to produce or consume graphics-related things. For example, I'm adding support for processing OpenType fonts to ZPB-TTF and making a hybrid of Skippy and Vecto to produce simple vector-oriented animations. I'd also like to add APNG support to ZPNG.

I primarily use SBCL on Linux, x86 and x86-64, with Emacs and SLIME. For deploying all my website stuff I use Edi-ware extensively: Hunchentoot, HTML-TEMPLATE, and CL-WHO. I use CLSQL for a few things too. For graphics work, I use mostly my own libraries.

How about you? Leave a comment and let me know.



Lisp for fun and profit

I could say that I have been paid for doing Lisp for most of the past twenty years, starting as a student investigating a port of PCL to PSL (turned out to be too hard for me because PSL lacks closures) and writing a Lisp program (first running in PSL on a Cray-1, later ported to Lucid and Allegro on Sun-3s) to translate a DBMS system from BCPL to C as part of a porting project; then supporting A.I. researchers as a sysadmin and Lisp consultant (mostly on Allegro on Sun and SGI, as well as on Symbolics Lisp machines).

For the past more than eleven years I've been working at a research network operator. In 1998 I wrote an experimental system called "Fluxoscope" to process accounting information from the new "Netflow" system that Cisco added to its routers. Almost ten years later, this system is still in production, processing about 40'000 Netflow records per second year-in, year-out on a two-CPU Intel GNU/Linux server running Allegro CL. It is used for volume-based billing, monitoring, and traffic planning. I'm still adding functionality to this system, most recently Netflow v9/IPFIX and IPv6 support, as well as a special accounting application for a wireless "peering" project. Of course it contains an embedded HTTP server (based on AllegroScript), as well as an SNMP agent for monitoring.

Re: Lisp for fun and profit

I noticed on the fluxoscope page that you are willing to make the source code available. I am currently working on a distributed system monitoring application written in Lisp and could use some guidance concerning netflow data. Would you be willing to share your code with me? Email me at raison [at] if you would like to discuss it further. Thanks!

August 2014

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