Python processors? : WAS Re: Does python have the capability for driver development ?

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Sun Aug 2 08:47:41 CEST 2009

On Sun, 02 Aug 2009 14:19:45 +1200, greg wrote:

> That's what killed things like the Lisp machine. Their developers
> couldn't keep up with the huge resources that people like Intel and
> Motorola had to throw at CPU development, so eventually a
> general-purpose CPU could run Lisp faster than a Lisp machine.

When you say "eventually", I think you mean "decades ago". I recall a 
collaboration between Apple and Texas Instruments to build a Macintosh 
with a Lisp Machine in the late 1980s. From the one box, you could run 
two computers simultaneously, with two operating systems, one running the 
Motorola 68020 and the other a Lisp Machine processor.

I don't think it sold very well -- by memory, benchmarks showed that for 
half (or less) of the price, you could run Lisp in software on a vanilla 
Mac and the software would be faster than running it on the Lisp Machine.

TI also had at least one Nubus card for the Mac running a Lisp Machine:

On a similar note, there were Forth machines also available for the Apple 
Macintosh. Unlike Lisp, I think they suffered from the general lack of 
popularity of Forth rather than lack of speed.


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