Diversity of suppliers in less popular languages

Bill Clementson's Blog: "CL Implementations for Mac OS X". Bill points to several different implementations of CL on Mac OS X. More the merrier? Hmm, actually none of them sound that good to me ! Would they be better off collaborating on fewer implementations, and being better at linking to multiple GUI's, stores, SOAP/WS-* for example?

I have similar experience: I have been playing with SBCL and McCLIM on Linux. If I want to continue playing when I only have my Laptop around then I have to do it under Windows. Well, SBCL doesn't run on Windows, but there are several other possible CL implementations. But wait, McCLIM doesn't run under Linux - there is talk about porting it, but that would probably need more people..... but they are too busy build multiple CL implementations.

Of course the answer is to shell out some Euros on a commercial CL implelentation, but that discourages newcomers ( or returners like me) in the early stages of experimentation. It's all about groundwell, folks?

newsgroup also had a thread on the viability of Dolphin Smalltalk - this lead to s discussion of this versus VisualWorks. Sounds like the Dolphin guys are building a system for money - great idea ! But how could it be setup so that they don't have to try to maintain a language implementation, IDE etc. Should they start using Visual Works or Squeak? Or could they use a Smalltalk core and add components?

From a commercial point of view, is there an advantage in knowing there are many potential suppliers of a language? Probably. But what if half of them appear not to be small and not flourishing? Well, that coud be worse than just one viable one.

My passing observation is that there is a similar myriad of small Eiffel companies as well.

This situation plays into the hands of Java, C# etc.

What's to be done?

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