So, the International Lisp Conference is over, and I've somewhat
recovered from travel, so here are a few things about it.
First, it was great to meet people in person whom I had previously
only talked to online. It was nice to talk to Peter "gigamonkey"
Seibel and he
signed his book for me. He's
hard at work getting Code
Quarterly started, and you should go work on the
I also wore my Quicklisp shirt the first day and several people
came up to me and said nice things about it (Quicklisp, not the
On the first day I opted to sit in on and show support for the CL
tutorial session instead of going to the SPLASH keynote. It was kind
of a mistake, as the pace was glacial (it was scheduled for 3 hours
spread out over 3 days) and as an amateur CL language lawyer it was
hard not to nitpick. I think almost everyone else there already knew
CL and was there for some purpose other than to learn CL. (Someone
said they were there to learn how to give a CL tutorial. I'm not sure
the session was a good way to learn that.)
Larry Hunter gave a talk about computational biology and the goal
of producing something AI-ish to extract useful results from the
tsunami of data available in the field. Though he expressed affection
for Lisp, the talk was pretty high-level and was almost a recruiting
pitch to get programmers to help solve big, sexy computational biology
I was pleased to see a fellow Mainer,
Turner of the University of Maine, talk about a simple literate
programming system for Common Lisp. He discussed the original
Knuth-style systems and how he a chose different implementation
approach because of a different programming style offered by Lisp.
Faré and Robert P. Goldman talked about ASDF2, and the
slides provided rationales for some of the ASDF2 design features that
weren't clear to me before. For example, ASDF2 broke pathnames
in existing systems in some contexts, and one slide in particular
explained the unpredictable nature of ASDF1's pathname handling meant
that while the systems might have worked for me on SBCL and Linux,
working on other implementations was not as predictable. So ASDF2 uses
an incompatible system that has the advantage of behaving much
predictably across implementations and operating systems.
The first night a dozen or so of us headed off to the Great Basin
Brewing Company down the road from the hotel, and managed to get split
up into several tables. I dined
with Dan Weinreb and Paul
Tarvydas and heard a lot of interesting stories from Dan about MIT,
Symbolics, Object Design, ITA, and more. It's the kind of stuff you
can only get by spending some face-to-face time with people; it's just
not the same reading about it on a blog or in an email.
I'll write a little bit more about it tomorrow.