Re: Why does Lisp (SBCL) produce so huge executables?



mac <emailmac@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
I am a big admirer of Lisp, but it makes me wonder why the executable
produced by SBCL (the latest version) that I use on Ubuntu, is so big?

When I started learning CL (and getting the idea), I also have this
thought - wouldn't it be great to write all the programs in lisp
instead of C/C++?

But then it just doesn't work this way, you can't deliver a self-
contained hello-world CL program in under 100k.

So the thought of replacing all the ls, cat utilities weighting at
50mb each is a scary thought indeed.

Silly seems a better term.

The average Unix shell has some set of these sorts of utilities as
built-in features, so it is frequently the case that the shell is not
unlike a Lisp REPL.

And once we have an analogy so direct, it becomes clear that the
*right* answer is NOT to create binaries for these things, but rather
to invoke them from within a Lisp environment.

I haven't done much with this in a while, but was, at one point,
building some wrappers for bits of MH and NNTP functionality in Lisp.
It wouldn't make much sense to run those functions from a Unix shell,
but it surely WOULD be logical to run them in a Lisp REPL.

In the (now-old) "Lisp Machine" environments, that was very much the
idea; you might have a huge "base executable," but it would
immediately include great gobs of stuff.

But you can get creative - I have used CL to generate C code (macros
hide all the boiler plate code from me) and that's a big win for me.

I spent a fair bit of this week writing bits of Lisp code that was
generating SQL schemas. Nobody (aside from me) will ever see the Lisp
code; it has been a convenient way of experimentally generating a
pretty sophisticated schema.
For lisp in general, Scheme implementations usually have much smaller
footprint (because the core is smaller, there's no CLOS built-in for
example).

Usually they're not that much smaller, because having useful sets of
libraries brings them back up in size to be not particularly smaller
than CL...
--
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"Optimization hinders evolution." -- Alan J. Perlis
.