a) Distributed computing. We can very
easily put in an Aloha-like point-to-point packet network between Alto's, using a coax as the ether (or
microwave with a repeater on a hill for home
terminals). We can then do a large variety of experiments with dozens of
machines.. In particular, we can set up
systems in which each user has his own files and communications is done solely for the interchange of sharable information,
and thus shed some light on the long-standing
controversy about the merits of this scheme as against centralized files.
b) Office systems. We can run Peter's
Lisp-based NLS-competitor or the xNLS system...
c) Personal computing. If our theories
about the utility of cheap, powerful personal computers are correct, we should be able to demonstrate
them convincingly on Alto. If they are wrong,
we can find out why. We should, for example, be able to satisfy heavy Lisp
users such as Warren and Peter with an
Alto. This would also take a big computing load away from Maxc
d) Graphics. Alto is an excellent
vehicle for Bob Flegal's graphics work, and will make the fruits of that work available to a wide community. It
can't do Dick Shoup's stuff.