a counterpoint to rms on lisp machines

Jun 2, 2015  

You might have come across Richard Stallman’s brief history of Lisp Machines, which was a speech he gave in 2002. I remember coming across it – being inspired by what inspired him, and being outraged at what outraged him.

Lately, I’m souring on the whole romantic view of the “free software” that I’d held for about a decade, a distinctly “NoGPL” view, if I may coin that word. Another nail in the coffin was delivered by this blog post 1, which refutes much of the blame to Symbolics, and leaves Stallman looking IMO quite silly (if not petulant).

Also …

And while I’m setting the record straight, the original (TECO-based) Emacs was created and designed by Guy L. Steele Jr. and David Moon. After they had it working, and it had become established as the standard text editor at the AI lab, Stallman took over its maintenance.

… so much for RMS’s “But, along the way, I wrote a text editor, Emacs …”.

  1. The blog no longer exists (and sadly, Mr. Weinreb passed away in 2012), but thanks to archive.org, it’ll stay around. [return]