Just like in the Hong-Kong movie "In the mood for love", where love is hinted at in every scene but consummated in none, I have dreamt of a Lisp Machine without ever having seen one, neither out far nor in deep.
So when I put my hands on a 35$ credit-card sized computer, the curiously named Raspberry Pi, I felt the urge to pay tribute to the act of longing for elusive Lisp Machines, be it through pretense or travesty.
TL;DR: Cookbook-style recipe to lispify your Raspberry Pi.
The cunning scheme unfolds in three acts. Two of those have been documented better than I ever could, so references will suffice. I'll dwell a bit longer on the third step.
- Act I
- Build Emacs from source
Why? Because the packaged Emacs on Debian "Wheezy" is behind by a major version, and because building Emacs from source is straightforward.
Note: Unlike the author, I did not have to symlink gcc.
Building Emacs on Raspbian is actually no different that what is called for on generic Debian, so instructions should be interchangeable.
- Act II
- Install Clozure Common Lisp
On Raspbian, I could not find a packaged Steel Bank Common Lisp (SBCL), and while GNU CLISP was available with apt-get and running fine, I could not get it to play nicely with Stumpwm's dependencies. Fear not, because Clozure CL is a Lisp of noble descent that can be optimized for the ARM processor. Follow the excellent instructions courtesy of renowned Lisp hacker Rainer Joswig.
- Act III
- Install Stumpwm
Raspbian comes by default with LXDE, but we're after a lean, keyboard-only, Lisp-based, prefix driven à la Emacs, tiling window manager. Getting this right was actually the trickiest part, because none of the official instructions led to a working setup. I will spare you the failing strategies and the burnt hours, jumping straight to the winning combo, enabled by the heroic feats of Zach Beane and his Quicklisp project, a dependency management system Common Lispers had been waiting for since the dawn of the paren.
$ curl -O http://beta.quicklisp.org/quicklisp.lisp
(load "/path/to/quicklisp.lisp") (quicklisp-quickstart:install)
Proceed to installing Stumpwm.
In your CCL init file, make sure you defined a function to load quicklisp on demand, as Rainer Joswig recommends.
(defun load-quicklisp () (let ((quicklisp-init (merge-pathnames "quicklisp/setup.lisp" (user-homedir-pathname)))) (when (probe-file quicklisp-init) (load quicklisp-init))))
Now we can load Stumpwm in X. Put the following in your .Xinitrc the following:
exec ccl -e "(load-quicklisp)" -e "(ql:quickload \"stumpwm\")" -e "(stumpwm:stumpwm)"
The Raspberry Pi has spawned renewed interest in non-mainstream OSes like RISC OS and Plan 9, but one can experiment delightfully as well while staying on the stock Raspbian. With a little bit of effort and a lot of imagination, you can even pretend you're driving a Lisp machine.