New to Lisp, need help running app

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New to Lisp, need help running app

Postby wtexasranger » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:34 am

Hello, all. I feel rather foolish asking questions such as these on a forum full of experts, but I'm afraid I have not even heard of Lisp until recently :oops: .
The following link leads to a program written by David Cope called "Alice" (ALgorithmically Integrated Composing Environment):

http://arts.ucsc.edu/faculty/cope/alice.htm

The program takes input from midi data and outputs new midi data from patterns learned. Now for a bombardment of questions:

How do I run this application? Do I have to know Lisp to do so? His instructions are to open the app with MCL 5. Does MCL run the app or is it just for coding? Do I have to compile the code first? I have access to both Mac and PC. Is it possible to run the app on a PC, or is it Mac only? Am I in way over my head here :? ?
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Re: New to Lisp, need help running app

Postby Paul Donnelly » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:09 am

wtexasranger wrote:Does MCL run the app or is it just for coding?

It runs the program. Beyond that, I can't say much since I don't know the program in question. In the archive (which I can't extract and inspect — StuffIt) there is source code, which will probably need to be compiled to run. If used as intended, I get the impression this will happen automatically. To run it as-is, you will almost certainly need MCL. MCL has become Clozure CL, and runs on a few different systems and architectures, although compatability issues may require an older MCL-named version. Check it out to see if it's good on your system. Depending on the degree to which this program depends on MCL-specific features, it may run on other Lisps without much tweaking, although as a non-Lisp-programmer, that's probably nothing to you.
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Re: New to Lisp, need help running app

Postby qbg » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:19 am

Maybe this will work; I think it might require a PowerPC based Mac.
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Re: New to Lisp, need help running app

Postby JamesF » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:57 pm

It might help if you think of a Lisp environment as a command-line shell - just with an awesomely powerful shell language.

The standard way to run a Lisp application, therefore, is to start the shell and load the application from within it. Some applications will automatically start running when you do that, while others need you to explicitly start them up by calling a specific function. If it came with documentation, that should tell you - otherwise, you're stuck with reading the source-code.

It's quite possible to tell the Lisp environment to run arbitrary commands when you start it up, though the process varies between implementations. This is pretty much a need-to-bother deal: if you don't need it, you generally don't bother :)

You'll need to know at least a little about Lisp, but fortunately Peter Seibel wrote an intro in the form of Practical Common Lisp: http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/. The whole thing's available online at that URL, though I think most of us wound up buying the dead-tree version.
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Re: New to Lisp, need help running app

Postby wtexasranger » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:11 am

Thanks for the help, guys. I haven't been able to try it yet because my buddy's G4 has a bad power supply, but as soon as it's running I'm going to hack at it until it works. Thanks especially to JamesF for explaining Lisps workings so eloquently :) .
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Re: New to Lisp, need help running app

Postby smithzv » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:52 pm

qbg wrote:Maybe this will work; I think it might require a PowerPC based Mac.


Can't you virtualize or emulate a PPC processor running whatever OS Alice was written for? Reading the Alice manual, this program is pretty old and will probably run on some pretty wimpy specs for this day and age.

This program scares me because it doesn't look like very portable code. On the other had, it has some source in there that seem to do some cool stuff. Good luck.

Zach S
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