Unix blues

From the foreword to “The Unix Haters Handbook” by Donald Norman, author of previous works like “The Trouble with Unix: The User Interface is Horrid“, and “The Design of Everyday Things“, and a fellow at Apple and IDEO.

(Narrator: “… the book didn’t kill Unix …”)

… the programming environment model in Unix is an imitation of the Lisp machine, and the way it is implemented is through processes and inter-process communication instead of function calls.

Functions in the Lisp heap are programs on disk in the Unix model. the optimizations that made Unix able to survive this incredible inefficiency are bad for Lisp, which would have done it a lot better had it been in control …