Can't buy me Lisp (not to mention love)

Summary:With the recent talk about Lisp, I got to thinking maybe I ought to look into how Lisp might work for some of the projects I'm involved in at BYU.  I use Scheme a lot, but I thought Lisp might have more library support for some things I care about.

With the recent talk about Lisp, I got to thinking maybe I ought to look into how Lisp might work for some of the projects I'm involved in at BYU.  I use Scheme a lot, but I thought Lisp might have more library support for some things I care about. I went to the Allego Web site and was surprised to find that you can't get a price online. So, I sent a simple note off to Allegro that read:

Can you tell me academic prices for Allegro CL v 8.0. I'm interested in the Enterprise 32 and the Pro editions for OS X.

A full day later, I got this response, or rather non-response:

  1. Can you give a brief description of your project?
  2. How did you most recently hear about Allegro CL? (Dr. Dobbs add, newsgroup, web search, etc)
  3. Will more than 1 developer use Allegro CL at any one point in time? If yes, how many?
  4. Do you need the following functionality.... ODBC (access SQL databases)? Runtime (create stand-alone images to execute outside of the LISP environment)? AllegroCache (Franz's persistent CLOS database)? Allegro ORBLink (Franz's CORBA implementation)?
  5. What is the status of the project(s) (planning / implementation )?
  6. Have you received funding for this software purchase?

No wonder no one uses Lisp! In a world where one can download complete development environments and libraries for almost any programming language you can think of, these guys are still selling it like enterprise software. And if that weren't bad enough, you have to play 20 questions with them to get a quote. No straight answers here--there appears to be a different price for every customer.

So, Allegro, if you're listening, here are my answers:

  1. No, I can't give you a brief description of the project. There isn't one. I just want to play.  That's what people do when they explore new languages.
  2. I've known about Allegro for a dozen years or more.
  3. Yes, I want lots of developers to use Allegro at the same time. Maybe an entire class of students.  I want to be able to install it on every machine I can and I don't want to mess with license servers or CRAP.
  4. I want it all, baby!
  5. There's no status because there's no project. (See 1).
  6. None of you're business, although by asking the question you lead me to believe that your software is so expensive that regular developers probably can't afford it. Would you like my SSN so you can do a credit check while you're at it?

Sheesh, nothing like making it difficult. Just give me a price, already.  Ruby's looking better all the time...

Topics: Software Development

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