Projects: improvements to CMUCL

Here is a (partial) list of projects which are either underway, or would be useful to CMUCL users. Please join the cmucl-imp mailing list if you are interested in contributing to one of these projects.

  • Searching for, and resolving, any remaining divergences from the ANSI Common Lisp specification (many of which have been fixed during the year 2002). The ansi-test suite in CLOCC, and the test suite included with the GCL source code, are useful for this.
  • Peter Van Eynde is working on changing CMUCL's memory management so that it can allocate memory lazily, thus overcoming the overcommiting problem on recent linux kernels.
  • cross-compile from an ANSI Common Lisp: Bill Newman has developed a derivative of CMUCL called Steel Bank Common Lisp which is able to cross-compile itself from an arbitrary Common Lisp implementation (currently the only way to port CMUCL to a new hardware architecture is to cross-compile it from a CMUCL running on a currently supported architecture, which is a delicate process). Some of the cleanups made to SBCL could advantageously be back-ported to CMUCL.
  • reviving the HPPA port.
  • win32 port: a few people investigated the possibility of using the POSIX emulation layer provided by the cygwin32 tools to port CMUCL to win32. Given the problems with memory management facilities provided by this library, as well as licencing issues, a native port would be more useful. The primary issues to resolve are memory management and signal handling.
  • add 64-bit support. CMUCL currently only works with 32 bit addresses, even on platforms like UltraSPARC, which could support 64-bit applications. Raymond Toy is thinking about how to approach this problem.
  • add a peephole optimizer to the CMUCL assembler, to remove useless bits of the instruction stream.
  • Porting multiprocessing to other platforms than x86. This requires knowledge of assembly and of the internals of CMUCL.
  • Write a soft-real-time garbage collector for CMUCL, for applications such as games where bounded response time is very important.
  • improving Garnet: the Garnet user-interface toolkit is no longer maintained by the CMU Interfaces group which developed it. There are always bugfixes to integrate in the code and improvements to add. Fred Gilham is looking after this.
  • Allow PCL to emit LAP bytecode, instead of calling the compiler at runtime. This would allow small CLOS-enabled CMUCL images to be built. (Currently, it is possible to build quite small "runtime" images without the compiler, but these cannot be built with CLOS support, because PCL requires the compiler to be present at runtime.)
  • The McCLIM project aims to produce a free version of the CLIM user-interface specification. It would make a good subtrate for sophisticated interactors, browsers and code navigation tools.
  • A port to the Flux OSKit, to produce CMUCL-OS.
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