Cross-Platform Development November 25th, 2009
Patrick Stein

In preparation for the upcoming TC Lispers meeting, I was testing my Sheeple-based CL-OpenGL GUI code on all of the different systems that I use. This was important because part of my goal in starting from bare-bones OpenGL was to make something that was pretty easy to port. The OpenGL libraries are the only non-Lisp dependencies, and they are pretty standard.

I run Mac OS X 10.6.2 as my primary development machine. I knew everything I had so far worked there under SBCL 1.0.30 and CMU-CL 20a. It took a little tweaking to get Sheeple built under Allegro CL 8.1 (Trial Edition), but after that I was five-by-five under Allegro, too. Unfortunately, I cannot get CL-OpenGL to run under Clozure 1.3-r11936 on Mac OS X. Also, ECL 9.10.2 doesn’t support weak key hashtables which Sheeple needs. And, my install of clisp broke somewhere along the lines, so I haven’t tried it.

I have an Ubuntu Linux box. There, I am using SBCL 1.0.11.debian (eeps). Everything ran perfectly over there (even displaying through X Windows back to my Mac).

I also run Windows Vista under VMWare Fusion on my Mac. I hadn’t done any development on it for months and months. Fortunately, in Google-ing to find out how to fix it, I stumbled upon what I had written about how I got things set up originally. Over the last two hours, I got SBCL upgraded to 1.0.29 under Vista. I got ASDF-Install set up with a bunch of help from this article. And, from there, I got CFFI and cl-opengl and ZPB-TTF and Sheeple installed.

ZPB-TTF and Sheeple both used some tar format options that archive_0.7.0 didn’t like. For those, I had to jump through some hoops to untar and retar them to get them to install.

Here was my final /Users/Patrick/.sbclrc file:

(require :asdf)

;; from Zach Beane
(defmethod asdf:perform :around ((o asdf:load-op)
                                (c asdf:cl-source-file))
  (handler-case (call-next-method o c)
    (#+sbcl sb-ext:invalid-fasl
     #+allegro excl::file-incompatible-fasl-error
     #+lispworks conditions:fasl-error
     #+cmu ext:invalid-fasl
     #-(or sbcl allegor lispworks cmu) error ()
     (asdf:perform (make-instance 'asdf:compile-op) c)

(dolist (pkg  '("alexandria/"
                "zpb-ttf-1.0/") )
  (pushnew (merge-pathnames pkg
                            (merge-pathnames "ASDF-Systems/"

(asdf:oos 'asdf:load-op 'asdf-install)

;; for my sanity
(setf asdf-install:*locations*
      (list (list (merge-pathnames "ASDF-Systems/" (user-homedir-pathname))
                  (merge-pathnames "ASDF-Systems/" (user-homedir-pathname))
                  "My install spot")))

;; via
(asdf:oos 'asdf:load-op 'gzip-stream)

(asdf:oos 'asdf:load-op 'archive)

(defun asdf-install-extractor (to-dir tarball)
  (let ((name nil))
    (gzip-stream:with-open-gzip-file (ins tarball)
      (archive:with-open-archive (archive ins)
        (let ((*default-pathname-defaults* (pathname to-dir)))
          (archive:do-archive-entries (entry archive name)
            (archive:extract-entry archive entry)
            (unless name (setf name (archive:name entry)))))))
    (string name)))

(push 'asdf-install-extractor asdf-install:*tar-extractors*)

The list of packages in the middle were about half installed manually to get the archive extraction code working and half installed through ASDF-Install. If I recall correctly, I had to manually install: archive_0.7.0, flexi-streams-1.0.7, gzip-stream_0.2.8, salza2-2.0.7, trivial-gray-streams-2008-11-02, and a fresh copy of asdf-install. I also had to download a compiled version of freeglut.dll and tuck it into my Windows\system32 directory.

Getting SBCL to use the fresh copy of asdf-install was annoying. I ended up starting up a Command Prompt as Administrator (right click on the “command.exe” icon or menu-item and select “Run as Administrator”). Then, I went to the SBCL directory (“C:\Program Files\Steel Bank Common Lisp\1.0.29\”) and did the following:

% rename asdf-install asdf-install.old
% mklink /d asdf-install "C:\Users\Patrick\ASDF-Systems\asdf-install\asdf-install"

I had extracted the tar-ball from the ASDF-Install distribution into my ASDF-Systems directory.

Then, I went back and made my GUI code use double-buffered OpenGL windows because running Lisp to OpenGL to Windows Vista to VMWare to Quartz had some wicked flickering going on.

Two hours is a long time for something that’s supposed to be easily portable. But, I would have spent at least 95% of that time even if I were using an all-Lisp solution. And, this is far less time than I ever spent porting anything else to Windows.

Who’s Knocking On My Disk Drive? May 28th, 2009
Patrick Stein

I rebooted my Linux box into Windows Vista several times in the last two days while moving things over to VMWare Fusion. All day today, my disk drive has given a little spin every two or three seconds.

When I first noticed it, I tried searching around with iostat and top to see if I had some process run amok. Finding nothing, I tried rebooting.

The magical reboot was not so magical. My machine was still merrily hitting the disk every couple seconds.

I searched around the web for “disk activity” linux and “disk activity” ubuntu. I found recommendations that I:

All of those seemed bogus to me. None of them seemed like anything that would have changed yesterday or today. But, the last one got me thinking. What logs do I have that do get flushed on every message? Are any of them going batty today?

Sure enough, /var/log/auth.log was getting hit every two or three seconds. Someone was trying to guess logins on my machine.

May 28 04:57:57 evariste sshd[6966]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure
; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser=  user=backup
May 28 04:57:59 evariste sshd[6966]: Failed password for backup from 209.51.159.
194 port 54874 ssh2
May 28 04:57:59 evariste sshd[6968]: Invalid user guest from
May 28 04:57:59 evariste sshd[6968]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): check pass; user unkno
May 28 04:57:59 evariste sshd[6968]: pam_unix(sshd:auth): authentication failure
; logname= uid=0 euid=0 tty=ssh ruser=
May 28 04:58:01 evariste sshd[6968]: Failed password for invalid user guest from port 54992 ssh2

Looking back through the last week, I’ve had a few spats of bogus login attempts. Most of them were just four or five attempts in a row. This one today had gone for twelve hours.

I threw that IP address into /etc/hosts.deny. Now, all is quiet. Well, except my need to make sure I don’t let things go for twelve hours again….

Emacs + Slime + SBCL on Windows Vista May 27th, 2009
Patrick Stein

I just finished setting up Windows Vista to run in VMWare Fusion. Then, I finally tackled setting up Emacs with Slime and SBCL under Windows Vista.

For the most part, I followed Robert Zubek’s gameplan. However, I quickly ran into a problem with swank’s temporary files not being in a writable location. I wish I had found this thread sooner. Alas, I ended up rolling my own by tweaking the temp-file-name function in swank-sbcl.lisp. The new version looks like this:

(defun temp-file-name ()
    "Return a temporary file name to compile strings into."
  #-win32 (concatenate 'string (tmpnam nil) ".lisp")
  #+win32 (concatenate 'string
                       (sb-ext:posix-getenv "TEMP")
                       (symbol-name (gensym "SL"))

Developing Lisp in Ubuntu Linux with VMWare Fusion May 27th, 2009
Patrick Stein

I am working on some lisp software that I would like to run under Linux, MacOSX, and Windows.

I have a PC that I can boot into either Ubuntu Linux or Windows Vista. Of course, I have a variety of services running under Ubuntu Linux on that box that the rest of my network would rather have around. As such, I would rather never boot that machine into Windows. So, I thought I’d give VMWare Fusion a try.

Actually, I thought I would try both VMWare Fusion and Parallels. Alas, Parallels lets me get my virtual machine set up, but will not let me run it without a license. VMWare Fusion lets me play for 30 days before buying a license. From what I’m seeing from VMWare Fusion’s performance, I can’t imagine dropping $80 on Parallels just to see if its virtual machine can outperform what I’m seeing from Fusion.

Right now, I am in the process of moving over the PC’s Windows stuff to my laptop so I can try running Vista through Fusion. While I was waiting for that, however, I installed Ubuntu under Fusion, updated a ton of packages, installed emacs, sbcl, slime, etc.

For comparison, I took some lisp code that runs in just under 11 seconds on my laptop. I ran the same code under Ubuntu in Fusion on the same laptop. It ran in just under 12 seconds. Some of that may also be that I am using an older version of SBCL under Ubuntu than I am native.

I have some more testing to do to make sure that cl-opengl will perform as well. But, I am quite pleased.