Archive for April, 2010

Whither Lispbox?

April 16, 2010

When I wrote Practical Common Lisp, in order to provide a semi-standard environment for people to play with Common Lisp I created Lispbox, a customized version of Matthew Danish and Mikel Evins’s Lisp in a Box. Like Lisp in a Box, Lispbox combined Emacs, SLIME, and a Common Lisp implementation into a single, easily installable hunk of bits.

At the time, my goal was just to make a single version that could be installed on GNU/Linux, OS X, and Windows that would contain the libraries needed to run the example code from PCL in a predictable environment. (For instance, Lispbox removes implementation-specific packages from the CL-USER package use list so that the behavior of different Lispboxen would be more consistent.)

At the time I had dreams of continuing to work on Lispbox and make it something more than just a bike-with-training-wheels for new Lispers. At the very least I hoped to be able to continue to build and distribute new versions of it as Lisp implementations were updated, etc. As it turns out, I’ve completely failed to do either of those things.

Somewhere along the line, I registered the domain but never did anything with it. My registration is going to expire in about a week and since I’m pretty obviously not going to be doing anything with Lispbox myself, I’m not going to renew it. But I would be happy to let someone take over the project.

All the code needed to build Lispboxen is available as a Google code project. And people other than me have in fact succeeded in building working Lispboxen from it. If you are interested in doing something with Lispbox, please email me. I’ll be happy to set you up as a contributor on the Google code project and to answer questions about how things work. And if anyone wants to really take it over, I’d be more than willing to officially pass the baton.