LW "hobbyist pricing"

34 views
Skip to first unread message

verec

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 11:02:54 AM1/10/06
to
On 2006-01-10 12:18:07 +0000, usenet-...@abbrvtd.org.uk (Duncan
Harvey) said:

>> There should be "hobbyist" licenses for LispWorks and Allegro. I'd love
>> to shell out the $1K+ price, but with matenance fees and no real income
>> being produced from it, I have a hard time convincing myself to do so.
>> Even 1/2 the price (or no upgrade fees) would make it worthwhile.
>> *cough* (hint) *cough*
>
> What do you want that, say, LispWorks Personal Edition doesn't offer?
> Executable generation? Unrestricted memory heap size?

Since we're hobyyist, we don't need CORBA or binary delivery (they
are indeed useful, but as a "hobbyist" I can live without), and
I'm not interested _at all_ in either SQL or Prolog.

What I'd be happy with, if the "hobbyist edition price" was right:

what the Persobal Edition currently is but:

1. actually read the .ini file
2. no artificial "Quit after 5 hours"

I've been delaying the purchase for weeks, for exactly the
same reasons as Jeff. My "pay-the-bills" job is in Java, and
I don't see it switching to Lisp in the immediate future.

I also understand that LW cannot afford to canibalise their
sales of the professional edition, but my guess is that leaving
out the application delivery from the hobbyist edition is what
would draw people who need it to the professional edition.

FWIW, I'd see it that way:
Personal Edition USD 0
Hobbyist USD 300 (reads .ini file)
Web-deploy basic USD 600 (doesn't quit after 5 hours)
Professional Web USD 900 (does SQL + binary delivery)
Enterprise USD 1200 (Prolog bits+ "knowlege base")

or, assuming the actual product is built by just swicthing
compiler options at build time, and that all the features
are independant, they could have:

Base Pizza: USD 0 (= current Personal Edition)
Topping: USD 200 per item

Chose any mix of topping among:
- reads ini file
- works 24/24
- binary delivery
- SQL
- Corba/ORB
- Prolog
- Knowledge base

Just my 2p :)
--
JFB

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 11:59:25 AM1/10/06
to
verec wrote:
> On 2006-01-10 12:18:07 +0000, usenet-...@abbrvtd.org.uk (Duncan
> Harvey) said:
>
>>> There should be "hobbyist" licenses for LispWorks and Allegro. I'd love
>>> to shell out the $1K+ price, but with matenance fees and no real income
>>> being produced from it, I have a hard time convincing myself to do so.
>>> Even 1/2 the price (or no upgrade fees) would make it worthwhile.
>>> *cough* (hint) *cough*
>>
>>
>> What do you want that, say, LispWorks Personal Edition doesn't offer?
>> Executable generation? Unrestricted memory heap size?
>
>
> Since we're hobyyist, we don't need CORBA or binary delivery (they
> are indeed useful, but as a "hobbyist" I can live without), and
> I'm not interested _at all_ in either SQL or Prolog.
>
> What I'd be happy with, if the "hobbyist edition price" was right:
>
> what the Persobal Edition currently is but:
>
> 1. actually read the .ini file
> 2. no artificial "Quit after 5 hours"
>
> I've been delaying the purchase for weeks, for exactly the
> same reasons as Jeff. My "pay-the-bills" job is in Java, and
> I don't see it switching to Lisp in the immediate future.

That might be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

kt

verec

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 1:22:10 PM1/10/06
to
On 2006-01-10 16:59:25 +0000, Kenny Tilton <NOktil...@nyc.rr.com> said:

>> I don't see it switching to Lisp in the immediate future.
> That might be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Let's hope you're wrong :-)
--
JFB

Cameron MacKinnon

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 1:33:36 PM1/10/06
to
verec wrote:

> FWIW, I'd see it that way:
> Personal Edition USD 0

...etc...

> or...


>
> Base Pizza: USD 0 (= current Personal Edition)
> Topping: USD 200 per item

What *is* it worth (your advice that is... not LispWorks)? Do you have
any sort of business, finnce or economics background?

I think if you're going to come up with a radically revised pricing
grid, you should work it through and show us estimated unit sales and
revenues from their current model, and projected unit sales and revenues
under your plan. That way we can judge whether the assumptions that
underlie your strategy are reasonable.

Short of that, I suspect you're just another person who thinks that the
world would (temporarily) be a better place if everybody at LispWorks
took a pay cut.

verec

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 1:56:14 PM1/10/06
to
On 2006-01-10 18:33:36 +0000, Cameron MacKinnon
<cmack...@clearspot.net> said:

> Short of that, I suspect you're just another person who thinks that the
> world would (temporarily) be a better place if everybody at LispWorks
> took a pay cut.

Precisely not!

I'm just suggesting that the *economics* might work to their
advantage if they were charging more people for less money
than fewer people for more.

From my vantage point, Lisp is following a surge thes days.
It may only turn out to be a spike, and then it may not.

I was just expressing the voice of a lambda user of the
Personal Edition, who would want to shell out _some_ bucks
but not the whole Monthy, for features that matter to me.

If they, or you, can't listen to *users* what are you doing
in business ???
--
JFB

Wade Humeniuk

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 3:58:52 PM1/10/06
to
verec wrote:
>
> Just my 2p :)

Are you sure its the price making you nervous? Or maybe that it is
Lisp? Some of the best things in my life began as "bad" ideas.
Sometimes you just have to jump, then its obvious what has to be
done next. Also, if anything, consider your purchase of LW Pro to be
an acknowledgment of the work that LispWorks, Franz and the long
line of Lispers have put into helping you out.

Keep it simple.

Wade

Herb Martin

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 4:44:00 PM1/10/06
to
"Wade Humeniuk" <whumeniu+...@telus.net> wrote in message
news:geVwf.70423$m05.39497@clgrps12...

I don't know about the previous poster (or specifically about the
current version of LispWorks) but even the FREE version of that
other well known Lisp is too expensive (time and effort to download
it) since it just QUITS.

My past experience with all of the free version of Lisp commercial
software always ends up here: the demo versions are so awful
as to make buying even the $100 personal version a poor bet.

Just last night, that 'other Lisp' quit merely because I fed it a bad
path (through a mistaken mouse-click AND no confirmation) when
choosing a "project path."

Software that stops in 5 hours is of no interest to me (lack of exe etc
is a more reasonable practice) as I frequently start programs and
leave them running for weeks, coming back to them between other
tasks.

Ultimately, only the vendor can decide what is correct for their
product (I certainly do that for my own products) but a lot can
be learned from the way a vendor responds to criticisms and
suggestions...even when saying "No, we are going to do that"
there are ways to make it clear WHY that decision is being
taken without making it sound like the one offering the suggestion
has no right to such an opinion.

Things like 'Prove it is in our interest and we will consider it',
do NOT bode well for future communication when you plan
to spend a chunk of money for a product.


--
Herb Martin


Cameron MacKinnon

unread,
Jan 10, 2006, 11:16:03 PM1/10/06
to
Herb Martin wrote:
> Software that stops in 5 hours is of no interest to me (lack of exe etc
> is a more reasonable practice) as I frequently start programs and
> leave them running for weeks, coming back to them between other
> tasks.

And providing free software to impecunious whiners is likely of no
interest to software vendors, merely an unfortunate side effect.

> Ultimately, only the vendor can decide what is correct for their
> product (I certainly do that for my own products) but a lot can
> be learned from the way a vendor responds to criticisms and
> suggestions...even when saying "No, we are going to do that"
> there are ways to make it clear WHY that decision is being
> taken without making it sound like the one offering the suggestion
> has no right to such an opinion.

The twin of "everyone is entitled to an opinion" is "...and some
opinions are worth more than others." I certainly didn't say that the OP
didn't have a right to an opinion, but I did ask him how much his
opinion was worth, and indicated that I'd accept either an appeal to
authority ("I've got a degree from the LSE") or some numbers showing
that his opinion was the result of a bit of methodical thought on the
subject. In response, the pseudonymous OP merely restated its thesis,
with no added information whatsoever.

Any fool can say "if you lower your prices, you might make up the loss
through volume." I wonder, do such people also inflict this pearl of
wisdom on their butchers, their bakers and their candlestick makers? Do
they post in luxury automobile forums that, but for the prices being
$20,000 too high, they too would drive Brand X? If not, what is unique
about software that makes people feel qualified to offer such 'advice'?

Who is more likely to have the optimal pricing strategy, an
unsuccessful[1] person who won't even put his name to his opinion, or a
company that has survived in a difficult marketplace for quite some
time? What company is more likely to have found an optimal price: One
that has a dedicated following of people who love the product but can't
afford it, or one where every pauper who finds the product at all useful
thinks it affordable?

> Things like 'Prove it is in our interest and we will consider it',
> do NOT bode well for future communication when you plan
> to spend a chunk of money for a product.

One thing to consider is that companies which lower their prices to
attract customers at the margin get... marginal customers. These new
costomers are people who weren't convinced of the value proposition
before (they see the software as being less valuable than the vendor's
earlier customers). Or they are just plain poor; they'd have bought
before but didn't have the money. Because it costs what feels like a lot
of money TO THEM, they're likely to feel entitled to a lot of service,
notwithstanding that they didn't spend what the vendor considers a lot
of money. And the people who haven't spent a penny on the product, but
post in public complaining about the demo's limitations and the pricing
structure? Oh, I'd be bending over backwards to please THEM if I was a
vendor -- who DOESN'T want to convert fractious malcontents they've
never done business with into malcontented customers?


[1] Not to put too fine a point upon it, but all we really know about
the poster is that he can't afford the product. I've been reading a lot
about Bayesian inference lately...

a@b.c

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:37:53 AM1/11/06
to
On Tue, 10 Jan 2006 23:16:03 -0500, Cameron MacKinnon
<cmack...@clearspot.net> wrote:

>Who is more likely to have the optimal pricing strategy, an
>unsuccessful[1] person who won't even put his name to his opinion, or a

His opinion is widely shared. It's based on common sense. Just
because he doesn't like the price doesn't mean he's unsuccessful. The
prices of ACL and LW are high enough to be a problem for 99+% of all
the people who ever lived, but most of those people could be
considered successful.

>company that has survived in a difficult marketplace for quite some

But their pricing strategies could be a big part of the reason why
that marketplace is difficult.

>time? What company is more likely to have found an optimal price: One
>that has a dedicated following of people who love the product but can't
>afford it, or one where every pauper who finds the product at all useful
>thinks it affordable?

Anyone who finds Lisp useful should not be considered a pauper.

The pricing strategies of the major commercial Lisp vendors are left
over from a time when the software market expected such high prices.
The number of computer users in the world was a tiny fraction of what
it is now. But such pricing strategies became obsolete in the 1980's,
when companies such as Borland made some programming languages popular
by pricing their products, such as Turbo Pascal, Turbo C, etc., at $99
per copy, and started selling them to the mass market.

That might be the single biggest reason why C is more popular than
Lisp today. A generation failed to learn Lisp, because they weren't
motivated by its lack of popularity. If they had learned it, it could
easily be the most widely used programming language in the world
today. From the points of view of today's lispers, most of those
users might seem like idiots, and you might think you're better off
without them, but just think how easy it would be for all lispers to
get Lisp jobs. Most programming jobs, you're working for idiots
anyway, but it would be far better to be doing that work in Lisp. And
there would be more Lisp vendors competing with each other, which is
the main driving force of innovation.

A lot of lispers seem to think the two main Lisp vendors did a lot of
sophisticated market research etc. and came up with the optimal
pricing strategies. But when did they do that research? When was the
last time their pricing strategies changed? Was it when the number of
computers in the world was a very tiny fraction of what it is now? If
you use your common sense you can see that it's not necessarily true
that they still know what they're doing. They may just keep improving
their products and continuing to sell them the same way they have all
those years. Because, maybe, that's all they know how to do.

justinhj

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:54:01 AM1/11/06
to

They charge what people will pay, and whatever their business model
dictates. It's their business model not yours... you're entitled to
complain about it and not buy, they're entitled to run their business
how they like.

Justin

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:59:25 AM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-10 20:58:52 +0000, Wade Humeniuk
<whumeniu+...@telus.net> said:

There's a lot of wisdom in what you just said. But, sometimes
the economic matters get in the way :-(

Consider this: I pay my bills by using tools I got for free:
JDK+Eclipse. When I was in C++ land, I *paid* for every
single release of the C+= compiler (CodeWarrior) I was using
then. (About USD 500/year)

I'm using Lisp as hobbyist, which means that I cannot (yet?)
support myself with it. Yet, acknowledging the fact that
producing software does cost money (after all: if it didn't,
I wouldn't get paid!) I'm keen in paying a certain amount
for LispWorks, even though I'm only using it as a hobby, and
even though I *bought* MCL 4.3 a few years back.

Now, USD/EUR 1100 for a hobbyist tool is quite beyond what
I am comfortable with.
--
JFB

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 10:10:28 AM1/11/06
to
verec wrote:

> Now, USD/EUR 1100 for a hobbyist tool is quite beyond what
> I am comfortable with.

There are both cheaper and more expensive hobbies.


Pascal

--
My website: http://p-cos.net
Closer to MOP & ContextL:
http://common-lisp.net/project/closer/

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 10:22:17 AM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 04:16:03 +0000, Cameron MacKinnon
<cmack...@clearspot.net> said:

> Herb Martin wrote:
>> Software that stops in 5 hours is of no interest to me (lack of exe etc
>> is a more reasonable practice) as I frequently start programs and
>> leave them running for weeks, coming back to them between other
>> tasks.
>
> And providing free software to impecunious whiners is likely of no
> interest to software vendors, merely an unfortunate side effect.

That's the most rubbish non sequitur I have read in *years*.

Dear Mr Know-it-all, since you didn't know better, I'm going
to provide you with a scoop! LispWorks does CURRENTLY offer
a free (as in no money involved) version of their Lisp
environment known as "Personal Edition".

What this *whole* thread is about, is how to rebalance things
so that LispWorks could get some MORE money, while at the same
time offering incentives for people like me to upgrade from
the free edition to a paying one.

Got that?
--
JFB

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 10:40:37 AM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 15:10:28 +0000, Pascal Costanza <p...@p-cos.net> said:

> verec wrote:
>
>> Now, USD/EUR 1100 for a hobbyist tool is quite beyond what
>> I am comfortable with.
>
> There are both cheaper and more expensive hobbies.

Fair point.

But let's put things in perspective. Why do I, in Java land,
use the free Eclipse rather than the non-free IntelliJ IDEA?

Why did I use, in C++ land, the non-free CodeWarrior, rather
than the free GCC?

Because that's more a question of productivity than an a
question of price ... up until a certain point.

Why did NeXT fail as NeXT? Among many other possible reasons,
one was the developer tools pricing: I know because I applied.
At USD 6,000 a pop, there was no way I could start exploring,
*first*, and then possibly turn into a commercial endehavour
next.

Fortunately, LispWorks allows me to explore for free.
Unfortunately, as I feel I need to reach to the next level,
pricing is an issue. Which it would certainly not be if
I had a Lisp business, but I don't. Not yet.

My credit card is my hand. Here's USD 400 for the PE feature
set + ini files + doesn't quit after 5 hours. Nothing more.
No SQL/Corba/Prolog. LispWorks, are you listening?
--
JFB

Michael

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 10:44:26 AM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11, Cameron MacKinnon <cmack...@clearspot.net> wrote:
> And providing free software to impecunious whiners is likely of no
> interest to software vendors, merely an unfortunate side effect.

Is there a reason you are being so hostile on this topic Cameron?

> The twin of "everyone is entitled to an opinion" is "...and some
> opinions are worth more than others." I certainly didn't say that the OP
> didn't have a right to an opinion, but I did ask him how much his
> opinion was worth, and indicated that I'd accept either an appeal to
> authority ("I've got a degree from the LSE") or some numbers showing
> that his opinion was the result of a bit of methodical thought on the
> subject. In response, the pseudonymous OP merely restated its thesis,
> with no added information whatsoever.

Thesis? He just stated his opinion that LispWorks cost too much for a
someone who is never going to make any money with it -- i.e. a hobbyist.

He is not alone in that opinion. Perhaps you should just chill out.

> Any fool can say "if you lower your prices, you might make up the loss
> through volume." I wonder, do such people also inflict this pearl of
> wisdom on their butchers, their bakers and their candlestick makers? Do
> they post in luxury automobile forums that, but for the prices being
> $20,000 too high, they too would drive Brand X? If not, what is unique
> about software that makes people feel qualified to offer such 'advice'?

Because the LispWorks people presumably read this group while I seriously
doubt my automaker reads USENET :)

> Who is more likely to have the optimal pricing strategy, an
> unsuccessful[1] person who won't even put his name to his opinion, or a
> company that has survived in a difficult marketplace for quite some
> time? What company is more likely to have found an optimal price: One
> that has a dedicated following of people who love the product but can't
> afford it, or one where every pauper who finds the product at all useful
> thinks it affordable?

Why are you being so hostile and rude? The guy just stated his
opinion. You can disagree without being an ass about it.

> One thing to consider is that companies which lower their prices to
> attract customers at the margin get... marginal customers. These new
> costomers are people who weren't convinced of the value proposition
> before (they see the software as being less valuable than the vendor's
> earlier customers). Or they are just plain poor; they'd have bought
> before but didn't have the money.

I can't speak for the original poster, but as for myself, I have a
non-lisp related job, a wife, two kids, and a mortgage. I can't afford
$1000 for a commercial lisp. I could see spending $200 or $300 for one
that had basic features like reading an initialization file and not
quitting after 5 hours.

You not sharing our situation doesn't change ours or invalidate our opinion.

> [1] Not to put too fine a point upon it, but all we really know about
> the poster is that he can't afford the product. I've been reading a lot
> about Bayesian inference lately...

I can't afford it either. I guess that makes me a bad person too then.

Michael Price

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 11:15:43 AM1/11/06
to
verec wrote:

> My credit card is my hand. Here's USD 400 for the PE feature
> set + ini files + doesn't quit after 5 hours. Nothing more.
> No SQL/Corba/Prolog. LispWorks, are you listening?

I think you will probably have more success if you contact them
directly, especially because they stated that they consider changing
their licensing schemes for LispWorks 5.0.

Wade Humeniuk

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 11:42:41 AM1/11/06
to
verec wrote:
> On 2006-01-10 20:58:52 +0000, Wade Humeniuk
> <whumeniu+...@telus.net> said:
>
>> verec wrote:
>>
>>> Just my 2p :)
>>
>>
>> Are you sure its the price making you nervous? Or maybe that it is
>> Lisp? Some of the best things in my life began as "bad" ideas.
>> Sometimes you just have to jump, then its obvious what has to be
>> done next. Also, if anything, consider your purchase of LW Pro to be
>> an acknowledgment of the work that LispWorks, Franz and the long
>> line of Lispers have put into helping you out.
>
>
> There's a lot of wisdom in what you just said. But, sometimes
> the economic matters get in the way :-(
>
> Consider this: I pay my bills by using tools I got for free:
> JDK+Eclipse. When I was in C++ land, I *paid* for every
> single release of the C+= compiler (CodeWarrior) I was using
> then. (About USD 500/year)
>

Can I assume that you, like many other programmers, are extremely tired
of the crap out there and do not want to pay for yet another shitty
programming language (YASPL)? I think there comes a point when a
programmer realizes that programming sucks and no amount of tools
and marketing hipe can change reality. There is something to be said
your young idealism, reft of reality. That is why I said that sometimes
the best things are really began as seemingly "bad" ideas and just
jumping of the cliff.

Did CodeWarrior turn you off this of paying sizeable chunks
of money for programming tools?

On the economic matters I have to agree very few people seem willing
to pay anything for things of value, especially when it comes to
programming. The trend seems to be having developer tools available for
free (the only exception seeming to be the MS Visual Studio Set of tools).

As for LispWorks pricing model, I really do not know if something
like you suggest would work. Nor do I know how they could protect
themselves from people abusing a different trial version. I would
suggest that you use one of the free Common Lisps. At least CL is
standardized and when and if the time comes to buy LW then the
transition should be fairly easy.

The battle I face currently for using Lisp is that companies wonder
if I leave will the software I wrote be able to be picked up by
someone else. I am forced to answer no and am prodded into developing
it in something else. The question is not whether it can be developed
in Lisp, its the security that companies (who can pay for the development)
require. This problem is sapping the energy out of me and I am
considering dropping out of software development altogether.

Wade

Steven E. Harris

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 11:53:14 AM1/11/06
to
Wade Humeniuk <whumeniu+...@telus.net> writes:

> The battle I face currently for using Lisp is that companies wonder
> if I leave will the software I wrote be able to be picked up by
> someone else. I am forced to answer no and am prodded into
> developing it in something else. The question is not whether it can
> be developed in Lisp, its the security that companies (who can pay
> for the development) require. This problem is sapping the energy
> out of me and I am considering dropping out of software development
> altogether.

I can relate, having experienced this situation and resulting quandary
in the recent past. Perhaps this is the beginning of a "Road from
Lisp" (RfL) story survey. Kenny would not be pleased.

--
Steven E. Harris

Herb Martin

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 12:28:55 PM1/11/06
to
>> Software that stops in 5 hours is of no interest to me (lack of exe etc
>> is a more reasonable practice) as I frequently start programs and
>> leave them running for weeks, coming back to them between other
>> tasks.
>
> And providing free software to impecunious whiners is likely of no
> interest to software vendors, merely an unfortunate side effect.
>

Obviously providing it so SOMEONE is of interest since
some people do it -- the question is why would anyone
ever put out a crappy demo that just crashes.

If you consider that saying a piece of software "crashes"
(when it crashes cold) is whining then you have a pretty
pitiful command of the English language.

Your attitude (shared curiously by a small number of people on
this newsgroup) that their is "nothing wrong" is likely one of
the reasons for Lisps (also) curious lack of popularity.

Why do you and others answer legitimate issues with "everything
is fine", head-in-the-sand responses?

It's a little bit insane, neurotic really.

--
Herb Martin


Cameron MacKinnon

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 12:45:18 PM1/11/06
to
verec wrote:
> LispWorks does CURRENTLY offer
> a free (as in no money involved) version of their Lisp
> environment known as "Personal Edition".

And still, it's not enough for some. They use Personal Edition (or
don't), and complain about its limitations. Their thanks to the company
which graciously provides such a tool is to demand more and to criticize
its management in public.

> What this *whole* thread is about, is how to rebalance things
> so that LispWorks could get some MORE money, while at the same
> time offering incentives for people like me to upgrade from
> the free edition to a paying one.

Yes, you've been understood. And I've asked for any supporting evidence
(or even measured supposition) you had to show that your price scheme
might be more profitable than the current one. None was forthcoming.
Instead you just keep repeating your thesis over and over.

So here's the scorecard:

Several executives at LispWorks, setting prices based on x number of
years experience in the market, supplemented by constant contact with
their customers and prospective customers. They're risking their jobs,
their careers, and a goodly sum of shareholders' money on being right.

- versus -

Some anonymous, skint, know-nothing member of the booboisie who just
happens to have a conflict of interest (but of course sees it as a
"win-win situation") and who can't even advance his argument past the
stage of "Thag want pay less. Thag have friends."

With nothing else to go on, my money would be on the professionals.

You seem to think that you represent a desirable customer, one who has
heretofore been priced out of the market (but only by a factor of four,
and what's 75% among friends?). I see you as more like someone who walks
into a delicatessen, avails himself to the free samples, then starts
loudly berating the shopkeeper, saying he can't afford the Havarti at
those prices but would be more than happy to buy some at 75% off. He
turns to the other customers and asks them if they wouldn't also buy
more Havarti at 75% off. The proper response to a 'customer' such as
this is to get him off the premises speedily, using the water hose if
necessary, the quicker to serve the true customers.

It's funny, but I can't recall a single poster who's pondered the
economics of the Lisp vendor market (and there have been many such
posters) who concluded that prices should be raised, or who concluded
that prices should be lowered AND OFFERED TO STAKE HIS CAPITAL ON IT, or
who wasn't loudly declaring himself first in line to benefit under the
new pricing scheme.

Pascal Bourguignon

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 12:57:42 PM1/11/06
to
"Herb Martin" <ne...@LearnQuick.com> writes:

LispWorks is a commercial entity, they play the market game.

If you're not happy with a feature of their software, you just don't
buy it and everybody's happy:
- you don't get to use crap software,
- when they don't sell as many copies as they hoped, they get the
- signal that their software is not good enough or is too expensive,
- so they can improve it or lower their price.


It's not "everything is fine", is what mechanisms are in place to
improve things.

The mechanism to improve commercial software is not to buy it. (*)

The mechanism to improve freedom software is to do it your self (or
contract someone to do it for you).

(*) otherwise, why do you think the most sold OS is the crapiest?
--
__Pascal Bourguignon__ http://www.informatimago.com/

"Specifications are for the weak and timid!"

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 12:59:03 PM1/11/06
to

You're somewhat harsh in your wording. But you're right that making a
product doesn't necessarily sell more. There is actually a danger that
the current customers will downgrade to a "lesser" version, so a change
in licensing could actually be a disadvantage for a company.

A typical misunderstanding is that the more complete versions offer more
than the less complete or even free versions. To a certain extent,
that's correct when seen purely from the user's perception. (You get
less or more features.) From the vendor's perspective it's actually
quite different: They foremostly develop the complete version of their
product, the less complete versions require more work because of the
required configuration overhead which increases their cost, and the
lower price is "just" a rebate. The lesser product was actually more
expensive to produce than the full version!

A new pricing scheme has to take these forces into account.

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:02:31 PM1/11/06
to
Pascal Costanza wrote:

> But you're right that making a product doesn't necessarily sell more.

But you're right that making a product cheaper doesn't necessarily sell
more.


verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:04:14 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 16:42:41 +0000, Wade Humeniuk
<whumeniu+...@telus.net> said:

>> Consider this: I pay my bills by using tools I got for free:
>> JDK+Eclipse. When I was in C++ land, I *paid* for every
>> single release of the C+= compiler (CodeWarrior) I was using
>> then. (About USD 500/year)
> Can I assume that you, like many other programmers, are extremely tired
> of the crap out there and do not want to pay for yet another shitty
> programming language (YASPL)?

Yes, that is true in general, but not in the particular case
of LispWorks Personal Edition. It is not perfect, far from it
(Un Mac like on OSX, but more so than MCL, no refactoring tool,
no powerful search (but where, on my *file system* do I have
Lisp files calling "foo" or being called by "foo"?), though for
my productivity, it beats the free OpenMCL hands down. That's
why I'd rather encourage LispWorks to carry on, with a little
financial support :-)

> I think there comes a point when a programmer realizes that programming
> sucks and no amount of tools and marketing hipe can change reality.

That's what I love about Lisp-the-language: it squarely puts me
in front of a mirror, where every single short-coming is a failure
of mine to think properly, and hate about lisp-the-ide: where any
inconvenience thrown into my chain-of-thought just destroys the
flow.

> There is something to be said your young idealism,

44 and counting :-(

> reft of reality. That is why I said that sometimes the best things are
> really began as seemingly "bad" ideas and just jumping of the cliff.
>
> Did CodeWarrior turn you off this of paying sizeable chunks
> of money for programming tools?

No! They turned themselves down! Now, if I want to perform any
kind of serious C/C++/Objective C development I have no choice
but rely on the free GCC and the free Xcode, both of which I'd
rather pay some money to get their usability up the scale!

> On the economic matters I have to agree very few people seem willing
> to pay anything for things of value, especially when it comes to
> programming. The trend seems to be having developer tools available for
> free (the only exception seeming to be the MS Visual Studio Set of tools).

This one is more difficult. I guess that Eclipse is THE perfect
counter example to the rule that free software usability sucks.
But it is only this: the counter example, which means that the
rule generally holds.

> As for LispWorks pricing model, I really do not know if something
> like you suggest would work. Nor do I know how they could protect
> themselves from people abusing a different trial version. I would
> suggest that you use one of the free Common Lisps.

LispWorks Personal Edition *is* free (as in money). It's just that
I am inclined to pay a *reasonable* amount of money for *some* of
the features of the next edition (when you think of it: I'd pay
to have the *anti-features* removed :-)

> At least CL is standardized and when and if the time comes to buy LW
> then the transition should be fairly easy.

That's true and I count on it if I ever have to "deploy", but let's
not put the cart before the horse :)

> The battle I face currently for using Lisp is that companies wonder
> if I leave will the software I wrote be able to be picked up by
> someone else. I am forced to answer no and am prodded into developing
> it in something else. The question is not whether it can be developed
> in Lisp, its the security that companies (who can pay for the development)
> require.

I cam enpathise with what you say, and would agree that Lisp in
the enterprise is a non starter (in most cases) for the same reason
that Python/Ruby etc... are non starters either.

> This problem is sapping the energy out of me and I am
> considering dropping out of software development altogether.

Well, call me "brain-washed-by-Paul-Graham" if you wish, but even
though I'm not exactly in my teens :(, I plan to start "something",
Lisp being part of the equation, while, until that thing flies on
its two (or more :-) wings, I'll keep paying the bills with Java
for banks.

The only thing I always force myself to remember is that no amount
of failure is going to prevent me from trying again :)
--
JFB

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:13:55 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 17:45:18 +0000, Cameron MacKinnon
<cmack...@clearspot.net> said:

> And I've asked for any supporting evidence (or even measured
> supposition) you had to show that your price scheme might be more
> profitable than the current one. None was forthcoming. Instead you just
> keep repeating your thesis over and over.

I hate it when I am dense, but apparently, I am not alone.

In case this enterely escaped you, the post ended with "my 2p )"
and contain a Pizza analogy that should have made clear the
"tongue-in-cheek" nature of the post.

Though I stand by the ideas that:
- I may have got the details wrong (item pricing) but the general
idea seems sound to me
-:offer what people want, don't force feed them (and make them
pay for) things they don't want

As I have said, I am a USER. I am NOT in the business of
selling Lisp tools. I am in the business of POSSIBLY buying
Lisp tools.

I am NOT in the business of dictating LispWorks their pricing
strategy.

I AM in the business of telling them what I am PREPARED to
pay, and for WHICH FEATURES.

Is that too hard to grok ???
--
JFB

justinhj

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:22:32 PM1/11/06
to

The car dealer down the road lets me drive a mercedes round the block
to test it. But that's no good, I need it to go to work in it and do
the grocery shopping etc, but it's too expensive. How is a family man
who pays rent supposed to afford a mercedes?

So what do I do? I buy a car I can afford? Or should the mercedes
dealer look at his pricing model. I'm sure he would sell a lot more
them if they were about 4 times cheaper.

;-)

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:22:53 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 17:57:42 +0000, Pascal Bourguignon <sp...@mouse-potato.com> said:

> LispWorks is a commercial entity, they play the market game.
>
> If you're not happy with a feature of their software, you just don't
> buy it and everybody's happy:

That old chesnut of the "excluded-middle". No Pascal, this isn't
an "either-or" proposition.

This is not "fight them or join them".

This is about discussion and *** COLLABORATION ***.

If I can condense a bit my position, it is to say:

"Hey, LispWorks, I have needs such-and-such and I'm prepared
to pay so-and-so. How could we work that out?"

It's just that I know that I stand absolutely NO chance
of being heard if I start this conversation alone with
them.

On the other hand, if more than one people other than me
echoes what I'm saying here, the end result would be
a win-win for everybocy!
--
JFB

Paul Wallich

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:23:37 PM1/11/06
to

The pricing scheme also has to take probable support costs into account.
For $0 you're going to assume that the most you get is to ask a
clarifying question after having exhausted the manual and all the online
resources, or maybe report a clear bug (because in a sense that's as
much a benefit to the company as it is a cost). For $200 or $400 people
might expect a fair amount of handholding on installation, the odd
feature request or three...

paul

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:27:25 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 18:22:32 +0000, "justinhj" <just...@gmail.com> said:

> The car dealer down the road lets me drive a mercedes round the block
> to test it. But that's no good, I need it to go to work in it and do
> the grocery shopping etc, but it's too expensive. How is a family man
> who pays rent supposed to afford a mercedes?
>
> So what do I do? I buy a car I can afford? Or should the mercedes
> dealer look at his pricing model. I'm sure he would sell a lot more
> them if they were about 4 times cheaper.

Are you positively certain that the car analogy applies?

Software has development costs. Cars do.
Software has no build cost. Cars do.
Software has no duplication costs. Cars do
Software has no distribution costs. Cars do.

and on, and on...
--
JFB

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:38:13 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 18:23:37 +0000, Paul Wallich <p...@panix.com> said:

> The pricing scheme also has to take probable support costs into
> account. For $0 you're going to assume that the most you get is to
> ask a clarifying question after having exhausted the manual and all the
> online resources, or maybe report a clear bug (because in a sense
> that's as much a benefit to the company as it is a cost). For $200 or
> $400 people might expect a fair amount of handholding on installation,
> the odd feature request or three...

That's entirely true. But that's for them to handle. I have no say
in whether their development team is 200 underpaid engineers in India,
or 4 most talented hackers in the UK. I'm sure they could work out
a "support structure" that makes business sense for them, on their
own, without my input.

Besides this, there are many examples of successful companies
with all the gamut from insufferable, to so-so, to outstanding
support. Their choice.

Let's mot make this thread into a "Hey LispWorks, let us tell you
hoe to run your business"!, but rather, express what we want,
and what we would be *reasonably* willing to pay for it.

How to implement this, or not, is their own business.
--
JFB

justinhj

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:44:54 PM1/11/06
to

No it's not a perfect analogy but I was having fun writing it. ;)

Cameron MacKinnon

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:47:34 PM1/11/06
to
Michael wrote:
> I can't speak for the original poster, but as for myself, I have a
> non-lisp related job, a wife, two kids, and a mortgage. I can't afford
> $1000 for a commercial lisp. I could see spending $200 or $300 for one
> that had basic features like reading an initialization file and not
> quitting after 5 hours.
>
> You not sharing our situation doesn't change ours or invalidate our opinion.

What the heck do you know about my situation?

If your opinion was limited to "I'm priced out of the Lisp market, but
I'd be willing to pay $300" that would be one thing. But there's myriad
free Lisps and Schemes available, and computers powerful enough to run
them are given away free or put out to the curb on garbage day, thus
nobody in the first world can claim that they're priced out of the Lisp
market (and I'll note that the poser who started this thread is posting
from a Mac).

The opinions I object to (short of some supporting arguments) are the
ones that attack particular companies' pricing models in public. People
who express such opinions should be prepared to show their work,
especially if they plan or hope to gain personally from their proposed
new pricing model.

Frankly, I see a lowball, public counteroffer to a posted price as being
very rude indeed, and not merely one of a spectrum of valid opinions. I
don't think I'm alone in this, either: Try stopping by your local new
car dealer, and offer him 25% of the sticker price of one of his
vehicles. I doubt you'll get invited inside for further negotiations,
and you might be rudely surprised at the response you get.

Geoffrey Summerhayes

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 1:51:47 PM1/11/06
to

"verec" <ve...@mac.com> wrote in message
news:43c54e0d$0$87295$5a6a...@news.aaisp.net.uk...

Actually Lisp is closer to the factory that makes the cars.
But car companies don't generally include a copy of the
factory with the car in case there needs to be design changes,
Lisp programmers tend to include Lisp, it makes it easier to
upgrade via patches instead of sending a whole new car.

----
Geoff


verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 2:11:17 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11 18:47:34 +0000, Cameron MacKinnon
<cmack...@clearspot.net> said:

> Michael wrote:
>> I can't speak for the original poster, but as for myself, I have a
>> non-lisp related job, a wife, two kids, and a mortgage. I can't afford
>> $1000 for a commercial lisp. I could see spending $200 or $300 for one
>> that had basic features like reading an initialization file and not
>> quitting after 5 hours.
>>
>> You not sharing our situation doesn't change ours or invalidate our opinion.
>
> What the heck do you know about my situation?

Your are not dense. You are opaque. Even light can't go through!

Who cares about *your own little situtation* ? Apart from you,
that is, as your flooding this thread proves.

> If your opinion was limited to "I'm priced out of the Lisp market, but
> I'd be willing to pay $300" that would be one thing.

Please, show us an example of anyone saying otherwise.

> But there's myriad free Lisps and Schemes available, and computers
> powerful enough to run them are given away free or put out to the curb
> on garbage day, thus nobody in the first world can claim that they're
> priced out of the Lisp market

Quit putting words into people's mouth! No one said they "we're priced
out of the lisp market".

You fail repeatedly to understand the difference between things
people want and not-for-money available software.

> (and I'll note that the poser who started this thread is posting from a Mac).

And so?

Yes. I did fork the bucks to pay for a PowerBook, because my
entire *professional life* depends on it. Your mileage may vary.

> The opinions I object to (short of some supporting arguments) are the
> ones that attack particular companies' pricing models in public.

But WHO is ATTACKING companies???

Quit smoking the carpet, that's no good, either for you (as if I did
care...) nor for this thread.

Put your glasses on. Re-read the initial post. And come back with
a SINGLE attack you can find there. I'm waiting ...

> People who express such opinions should be prepared to show their work,
> especially if they plan or hope to gain personally from their proposed
> new pricing model.

I have shown that I am a USER who CARES ENOUGH about THEIR
product, that I am OFFERING money in exchange of them
turning TWO SWITCHES OFF in their build process.

> Frankly, I see a lowball, public counteroffer to a posted price as
> being very rude indeed, and not merely one of a spectrum of valid
> opinions. I don't think I'm alone in this, either: Try stopping by your
> local new car dealer, and offer him 25% of the sticker price of one of
> his vehicles. I doubt you'll get invited inside for further
> negotiations, and you might be rudely surprised at the response you get.

Stupid analogy.

Don't make matters worse for yourself: don't reply!
--
JFB

André Thieme

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 2:35:06 PM1/11/06
to
You could try sbcl. Your gui could be a wui (web userinterface).
I don't want to sound offensive, but why doesn't a free lisp offer what
you want?


André
--

Jeff M.

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 2:59:50 PM1/11/06
to
Wow. I can't believe what I thought was such a simple (in my mind)
suggestion in another thread spread to economic discussions and general
rants. That's usenet for ya. :-)

However, I'd like to come back to /my/ original argument. I'd like to
reiterate that I have no problem with LW's pricing scheme. $1K is very
fair for the product they offer, and I'd happily pay that. Where I'd
like to see "hobbyist" licensing is when it comes to the maintenance
pricing. What's holding me (personally, I won't venture to speak on
behalf of others that have posted in this thread) back from purchasing
LW right now is the fact that if I want upgrades, I need to spend
another $275/year. Without revenue generated from my original
investment, this is a lot to shell out in the hopes that another
version comes out in a "reasonable" time frame (by reasonable I mean to
say in less time that it would take for $275/year to pay for the next
version).

If LW updates that were covered by the maintenence fees every year or
every 1.5 years, then I could see paying this. But they aren't. They
could be 6 months from now, or 5 years from now. If I don't pay it, and
a significant update happens 3 months later, I'm stuck paying another
$1K if I want those updates. Again, for a hobbyist, this is a lot. It
would be much easier on me to know I could just upgrade (when one comes
out) for 1/2 price or something similar, if I so chose.

I do, however, understand what (I think) is the LW business model. They
don't charge royalties, so I imagine that a large portion of their
revenue for continued development comes from the maintenance fees from
several corporations. Perhaps a hobbyist alternative would be to charge
hobbyists a yearly [maintenance] fee for use of the product en lieu of
the upfront price. I would easily be willing to pay $275/year to use
LW. I do agree with the OP of this thread, though, that there are large
portions of LW that I [as a hobbyist] don't need.

Well, I highly doubt that much of this thread will impact LW's business
model (and it probably shouldn't). However, if anyone from LW is
reading this, and is willing to work out something specific with me,
please feel free to email me and let me know what some available
options are. I'd be very excited about pursuing some of them with you.

Jeff M.

massung [at] gmail

justinhj

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 5:39:27 PM1/11/06
to

Jeff M. wrote:
>> stuff that I snipped

Wow, for $1k you can't download bug fixes to the product, is that what
you're saying?

Justin

Jeff M.

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 5:45:10 PM1/11/06
to
>From the LW website:

"""
Maintenance offers you:

* free minor Product Releases, such as upgrading from LispWorks 4.3
to LispWorks 4.4, and
* a discount on major Product Releases, such as upgrading from
LispWorks 4.4 to LispWorks 5.0.

Maintenance Contracts last for a fixed period of one year and can only
be purchased in conjunction with a LispWorks license.
"""

So, with just the purchase price (no maintenance), I can go from 4.4 to
4.4.5 (bug fixes). But many times, non-critical bug fixes are held off
until the next minor release (4.4 to 4.5), which I can't get without
paying the maintenance fee.

Also, from the above, it reads as though after 1 year, I can't renew
the maintenance (so if 13 months after the purchase they come out with
4.6 or 5.0, I have to pay full price again).

Jeff M.

Edi Weitz

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 6:33:21 PM1/11/06
to
On 11 Jan 2006 14:45:10 -0800, "Jeff M." <mas...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Also, from the above, it reads as though after 1 year, I can't renew
> the maintenance (so if 13 months after the purchase they come out
> with 4.6 or 5.0, I have to pay full price again).

That would be pretty dumb, wouldn't it? And of course it's wrong.

As others have already said - if you're really interested you can
always contact LispWorks and ask them. In the long term that's
certainly better than public speculation and spreading misinformation
on Usenet.

Cheers,
Edi.

--

Lisp is not dead, it just smells funny.

Real email: (replace (subseq "spam...@agharta.de" 5) "edi")

Herb Martin

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 6:40:34 PM1/11/06
to
"Pascal Bourguignon" <sp...@mouse-potato.com> wrote in message
news:87d5iy7...@thalassa.informatimago.com...

> If you're not happy with a feature of their software, you just don't
> buy it and everybody's happy:
> - you don't get to use crap software,
> - when they don't sell as many copies as they hoped, they get the
> - signal that their software is not good enough or is too expensive,
> - so they can improve it or lower their price.
>
>
> It's not "everything is fine", is what mechanisms are in place to
> improve things.
>
> The mechanism to improve commercial software is not to buy it. (*)
>
> The mechanism to improve freedom software is to do it your self (or
> contract someone to do it for you).
>


Actually there are other methods, perhaps many other methods
but letting the vendor know is one such method.

Letting others who are considering a purchase know about your
opinion is another.

One lost sale may not convince them, but finding that they
(and this is NOT directed at LispWorks, my example was
specifically for "that other commercial Lisp") gaining a
reputation for even demos that crash is another.

I especially find those (multi-)thousand dollar Lisps which
have a crashing demo or free version to be a joke.

I order or download them once a year or so, find they are
trash, and move on.

But if there is a chance we can encourage the vendors to
improve the situation then it's worth a short note or two.


--
Herb Martin


Larry Clapp

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 6:42:54 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-11, verec <ve...@mac.com> wrote:
> If I can condense a bit my position, it is to say:
>
> "Hey, LispWorks, I have needs such-and-such and I'm prepared to pay
> so-and-so. How could we work that out?"
>
> It's just that I know that I stand absolutely NO chance of being
> heard if I start this conversation alone with them.

Why don't you try it, and report back?

-- L

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 6:51:27 PM1/11/06
to
Steven E. Harris wrote:
> Wade Humeniuk <whumeniu+...@telus.net> writes:
>
>
>>The battle I face currently for using Lisp is that companies wonder
>>if I leave will the software I wrote be able to be picked up by
>>someone else. I am forced to answer no and am prodded into
>>developing it in something else.

Try saying what I know from experience, "Yes, and the person will have
twenty years of experience in Lisp, have graduated from MIT or Stanford,
be a very good programmer overall, probably be a renowned member of the
Lisp commuity, be able to handle any requirements alone, and be so
grateful for the work that you can get them dirt cheap.

"But not for long, because Lisp is growing fast (provide URLs to Paul
Graham, Peter Seibel, and the Road to Lisp as well as the list of
resumes on the Franz site and probably some cliki somewhere) so demand
for Lisp should be growing soon, but then so will the number of people
who can maintain a Lisp system. In the meantime I can deliver a better
system faster and cheaper because Lisp is that good (show them the RtL
again and Graham).

"If I use Java or C++ it will be less flexible and take longer and if I
move on you will get one thousand resumes instead of ten, and the best
Java/C++ programmers are not looking for your crappy maintenance
project, so you can throw all those resumes away. Not sure what you do
then."

> The question is not whether it can
>>be developed in Lisp, its the security that companies (who can pay
>>for the development) require. This problem is sapping the energy
>>out of me and I am considering dropping out of software development
>>altogether.
>
>
> I can relate, having experienced this situation and resulting quandary
> in the recent past. Perhaps this is the beginning of a "Road from
> Lisp" (RfL) story survey. Kenny would not be pleased.
>

Au contraire. I am all in favor of an RfL and have long wanted to find
someone on it to see what they had to say. Parentheses? <g> But I should
think they would at least have lurked c.l.l, seen the RtL (used to be in
my sig when I had one), and piped up, so maybe they do not exist.

Not sure I want to count people who cannot make money with Lisp, since
few of us can. Yet. The RtL is not about "how I got rich with Lisp", it
is about "how I discovered Lisp". Of course if you stop palying with
Lisp for fun, stop reading c.l.l, uninstall Clisp, ABCL, and both trial
versions, and shore up the beams supporting your office so you can buy
all the Java books, maybe you are a candidate for the RfL.

btw, I hear regularly from someone landing regular small contracts using
Lisp here and Lisp there. They quote two prices, one Lisp, one C++.
You and Wade might be two more people in the grips of self-fulfilling
prophecies.

kenny (taking a break from having so much fun it should be a crime
translating C into Lisp)

Steven E. Harris

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 7:09:07 PM1/11/06
to
Kenny Tilton <NOktil...@nyc.rr.com> writes:

> You and Wade might be two more people in the grips of
> self-fulfilling prophecies.

Not I, at least at the moment. I mentioned "recent past", and have
changed jobs since then. My current gig is allowing me to use CL as I
see fit. If we can afford Allegro CL for our coming project, currently
just in prototype phase, I may soon be dragging some coworkers up that
Road-to-Lisp on-ramp.

I can relate to Wade's predicament, though, and consider it luck more
than anything that I was able to dodge it again for a while.

--
Steven E. Harris

Paul Wallich

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 7:59:43 PM1/11/06
to
verec wrote:
> On 2006-01-11 18:23:37 +0000, Paul Wallich <p...@panix.com> said:
>
>> The pricing scheme also has to take probable support costs into
>> account. For $0 you're going to assume that the most you get is to
>> ask a clarifying question after having exhausted the manual and all
>> the online resources, or maybe report a clear bug (because in a sense
>> that's as much a benefit to the company as it is a cost). For $200 or
>> $400 people might expect a fair amount of handholding on installation,
>> the odd feature request or three...
>
>
> That's entirely true. But that's for them to handle. I have no say
> in whether their development team is 200 underpaid engineers in India,
> or 4 most talented hackers in the UK. I'm sure they could work out
> a "support structure" that makes business sense for them, on their
> own, without my input.

Ah, but they have.

paul

Bob Felts

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 8:22:53 PM1/11/06
to
Cameron MacKinnon <cmack...@clearspot.net> wrote:

> Michael wrote:
> > I can't speak for the original poster, but as for myself, I have a
> > non-lisp related job, a wife, two kids, and a mortgage. I can't afford
> > $1000 for a commercial lisp. I could see spending $200 or $300 for one
> > that had basic features like reading an initialization file and not
> > quitting after 5 hours.
> >
> > You not sharing our situation doesn't change ours or invalidate our opinion.
>
> What the heck do you know about my situation?
>
> If your opinion was limited to "I'm priced out of the Lisp market, but
> I'd be willing to pay $300" that would be one thing. But there's myriad
> free Lisps and Schemes available, and computers powerful enough to run
> them are given away free or put out to the curb on garbage day, thus
> nobody in the first world can claim that they're priced out of the Lisp
> market (and I'll note that the poser who started this thread is posting
> from a Mac).
>

Well, I'm posting from a Mac (a 4 year old PowerBook), have a wife,
three kids (2 in college), a mortgage and a non-lisp job. I downloaded
Siebel's "Practical Common Lisp" and the LispWorks personal edition and
started (re)teaching myself Lisp (it's changed a bit since my copy of
Weissman's "Lisp 1.5 Primer").

I, too, find the $1100 professional edition a bit too much for my
situation right now.

Then, thanks to Google, I found out how to install OpenMCL , GNU Emacs,
and SLIME
(http://blog.zenzoa.com/articles/2005/11/17/installing-lisp-on-mac-os-x,
and I haven't looked back to LispWorks.

While this may not have all of the advantates of LispWorks Professional,
it doesn't have any of the liimitations of the Personal edition.

Or am I missing something?

verec

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:01:11 PM1/11/06
to
On 2006-01-12 01:22:53 +0000, wr...@stablecross.com (Bob Felts) said:

> Then, thanks to Google, I found out how to install OpenMCL , GNU Emacs,
> and SLIME
> (http://blog.zenzoa.com/articles/2005/11/17/installing-lisp-on-mac-os-x,
> and I haven't looked back to LispWorks.
>
> While this may not have all of the advantates of LispWorks Professional,
> it doesn't have any of the liimitations of the Personal edition.
>
> Or am I missing something?

I'm sure you don't. If OpenMCL+Emacs+SLIME is right for you, why
would you want anything else??

I'm one of those guys who doesn't fancy typing at the keyboard
that much, and who prefers using kinetic memory to access
commands in menus (that sort of unconscious memory) rather than
having to remember C-m C-x shift-K Cttl QZ or other cryptic
incantations.

To each his own :)
--
JFB

David Trudgett

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:38:16 PM1/11/06
to
wr...@stablecross.com (Bob Felts) writes:

> I downloaded Siebel's "Practical Common Lisp"

That'd be Peter Seibel, I think ;-) Also available in dead tree
version (the book, that is).

Cheers,
David

--

David Trudgett
http://www.zeta.org.au/~wpower/

The whole system of domination might unravel if the idea of taking
matters into one's own hands spreads its evil tentacles.

-- Noam Chomsky
<http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20041217.htm>

John Thingstad

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:51:20 PM1/11/06
to
> That might be the single biggest reason why C is more popular than
> Lisp today. A generation failed to learn Lisp, because they weren't
> motivated by its lack of popularity. If they had learned it, it could
> easily be the most widely used programming language in the world
> today. From the points of view of today's lispers, most of those
> users might seem like idiots, and you might think you're better off
> without them, but just think how easy it would be for all lispers to
> get Lisp jobs. Most programming jobs, you're working for idiots
> anyway, but it would be far better to be doing that work in Lisp. And
> there would be more Lisp vendors competing with each other, which is
> the main driving force of innovation.
>

Nonsense. The PC didn't have the capacity to run lisp or for that
matter UNIX in the early 90's let alone the 80's.
This is the reason they chose C. As a alternative to assebly language.

--
Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

John Thingstad

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:57:51 PM1/11/06
to
You and many others seem to be missing a important point.
There is a limit to what people are willing to pay.
If you exceed that limit wery few people will want it.
You estimate it according to what it will cost.
But unlike say cars there is no production cost only development cost.
So if you miss the market you end up paying 10+ times the same price for
the product.
I feel venerec has a point.
Paul Graham also brings this up in one of his papers.

Bob Felts

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 9:50:57 PM1/11/06
to
David Trudgett <wpo...@zeta.org.au.nospamplease> wrote:

> wr...@stablecross.com (Bob Felts) writes:
>
> > I downloaded Siebel's "Practical Common Lisp"
>
> That'd be Peter Seibel, I think ;-) Also available in dead tree
> version (the book, that is).
>

Yes, you're right. I apologize for fat-fingering the name. I came
"this close" to buying the dead tree version for myself for Christmas.

Bill Bradford

unread,
Jan 11, 2006, 11:14:31 PM1/11/06
to
Add me to the "I'd gladly pay $100 or so for a version of Lispworks PE
without a heap size or time limit" club.

For now, I'm sticking with SBCL/CMUCL + SLIME for my learning
experiences. Then, once I'm "good" at Lisp, maybe by then one of the
commercial vendors will have an offering similar to what I'm looking
for.

Friedrich Dominicus

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 1:55:06 AM1/12/06
to
verec <ve...@mac.com> writes:

> Are you positively certain that the car analogy applies?
>
> Software has development costs. Cars do.
> Software has no build cost. Cars do.

Really, on what is software build? Fresh Air?


> Software has no duplication costs. Cars do

Yeah they get burned and packaged for nothing.


> Software has no distribution costs. Cars do.

Oh well the post carries it out for a "Thank you".


--
Please remove just-for-news- to reply via e-mail.

Espen Vestre

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 4:11:26 AM1/12/06
to
"John Thingstad" <john.th...@chello.no> writes:

> Nonsense. The PC didn't have the capacity to run lisp or for that
> matter UNIX in the early 90's let alone the 80's.

Nonsense. To use MCL (or MACL, its name back then, I think) in 1988,
all you needed was a 8Mhz mac with at least 2MB of RAM. Unix lisp
implementations were a little heavier, since they weren't optimized to
run on modest hardware the way MCL was, but that didn't stop people
from doing a lot of fun and useful things with Allegro CL and Lucid
(and later LispWorks) on unix workstations in the late eighties. In
1990 my wife and I borrowed an old mac from the university for home
use (an SE with 2,5MB RAM - most users were already on faster
hardware) and I used that both to do most of the programming behind a
computational linguistics article I presented at EACL 1991 and to
program some small statistical and data entry tools that my wife
needed for her masters thesis.

I think it would have been possible to make something like MCL for the
PC at that time too, at least in 1990 when Win 3.0 was released.
--
(espen)

Edi Weitz

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 4:32:08 AM1/12/06
to
On 12 Jan 2006 10:11:26 +0100, Espen Vestre <es...@vestre.net> wrote:

> I think it would have been possible to make something like MCL for
> the PC at that time too, at least in 1990 when Win 3.0 was released.

Wouldn't that be Gold Hill's "Golden Common Lisp?" I didn't use
Windows PCs at that time but it looks like it was available for Win
3.1 and even for DOS.

Espen Vestre

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 4:54:09 AM1/12/06
to
Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de> writes:

> Wouldn't that be Gold Hill's "Golden Common Lisp?" I didn't use
> Windows PCs at that time but it looks like it was available for Win
> 3.1 and even for DOS.

You're right. I don't think it was as usable on weak hardware as MCL
was, but it definitely made it possible to do serious lisp on a PC
already in the late eighties.
--
(espen)

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 5:00:31 AM1/12/06
to
Edi Weitz wrote:
> On 12 Jan 2006 10:11:26 +0100, Espen Vestre <es...@vestre.net> wrote:
>
>>I think it would have been possible to make something like MCL for
>>the PC at that time too, at least in 1990 when Win 3.0 was released.
>
> Wouldn't that be Gold Hill's "Golden Common Lisp?" I didn't use
> Windows PCs at that time but it looks like it was available for Win
> 3.1 and even for DOS.

Also Star Sapphire Common Lisp - see http://www.webweasel.com/lisp/lisp.htm

The requirements listed on that page do not sound very demanding.


Pascal

--
My website: http://p-cos.net
Closer to MOP & ContextL:
http://common-lisp.net/project/closer/

John Thingstad

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 7:44:49 AM1/12/06
to

For the record I am not arguing that it was impossible.
Just that very few people did it.
For one thing back in 1990 my machine had 640 K memeory a 20 Mb hardisk
and ran a 10 MHz 8088.. Not the sort of thing you would want to run lisp
on.
Now on my workstation at university that was a different matter.

carlos...@gmail.com

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 8:09:17 AM1/12/06
to
John Thingstad wrote:
> For one thing back in 1990 my machine had 640 K memeory a 20 Mb hardisk
> and ran a 10 MHz 8088.. Not the sort of thing you would want to run lisp on.

I guess this was not a typical 1990 machine, given that i486 had
already been introduced in 1989 (i386 in 1985, i286 in 1982).

Espen Vestre

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 8:12:36 AM1/12/06
to
"John Thingstad" <john.th...@chello.no> writes:

> For one thing back in 1990 my machine had 640 K memeory a 20 Mb hardisk
> and ran a 10 MHz 8088.. Not the sort of thing you would want to run
> lisp on.

Come on, the 8088 hit the market at the end of the /seventies/! And
the 386 was introduced in 1985... In 1990 crippled PCs with 386SX or
286 were still common, AFAIR, but your 8088 must have been quite old.

Even on DOS people of course used more than 640K memory before Windows
3.0 came in 1990, so I guess a fair judgement would be that e.g. 1988,
you could already run lisp on a standard (not high-end) pc ("ibm
compatible" or mac), but it had to be equipped with more memory than
the usual off-the-shelf pc had at that time (which probably was 1MB
for the mac and 640K for the ibm compatible?).
--
(espen)

John Thingstad

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 8:12:36 AM1/12/06
to

Yes, it was a bit behind the times. I got a 386 back in 1992 I think..

newsma...@gustad.com

unread,
Jan 12, 2006, 8:31:18 AM1/12/06