set-maximum-memory sets or removes a limit for the maximum address that the Lisp heap can grow to. If address is an integer, this becomes the maximum address. If address is
nil, any limit set by
set-maximum-memory is removed.
In 32-bit implementations on platforms other than Linux and Macintosh, by default the maximum memory is not set. LispWorks (32-bit) for Linux and LispWorks (32-bit) for Macintosh both set the maximum memory on startup. In all cases the system is constrained by the size of the physical memory.
When the maximum memory is reached (either that set by
set-maximum-memory or the physical memory limit) the system will become unstable. Therefore this situation should be avoided. The benefit of having the maximum memory set is that a useful error is signaled if the limit is reached.
An application which is likely to grow to the maximum memory should test the amount of available memory using memory-growth-margin or room-values at suitable times, and take action to reclaim memory. Do not rely on handling the error signaled when the maximum memory is reached, since the system is already unstable at this point.
LispWorks User Guide and Reference Manual - 13 Feb 2015