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Re: [feyerabend-project] An introduction to Lisp

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  • Dirk Riehle
    Since we are discussing an age-old problem that the Lisp/CLOS companies had already 10-15 years ago, I wonder whether hasn t been proof of CLOS (programmers )
    Message 1 of 22 , Aug 28, 2002
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      Since we are discussing an age-old problem that the Lisp/CLOS companies had
      already 10-15 years ago, I wonder whether hasn't been proof of CLOS
      (programmers') higher effectiveness. Aren't there any studies that show how
      much more effective you can be with a CLOS (language + tool set) over a
      C/C++/Java (language + tool set)?

      I also believe that you can do more things faster and better with CLOS etc.
      However, it is not clear to me that this is the case the first half year of
      a startup that is doing product development. Doesn't it kick in only after
      a certain amount of time? When you really start evolving the product? When
      you need features that typically aren't there in a first release?

      >Because Lisp is dead, I'll get better programmers for less money.

      Well, the sad thing is, I wonder whether it's that easy still to get them.
      The universities I've been connected with don't really teach Lisp/CLOS
      anymore. (To any real degree.)

      >latest fashion statement from Sun or Microsoft.The open source crowd
      >isn't even smart enough to notice C++, so they are especially nowhere
      >in the picture.

      After a talk a few years back I asked Eric Raymond whether there is real
      open source outside the C/Unix world. He didn't know. Of course there is,
      but not anywhere near where we would like it to be. It's strange.

      >Of course, no CEO will belive this because every one of them is stupid.

      Oh did you enjoy writing this sentence with bitterness in your words.

      Well, I think most CEOs are clueless when it comes to technology. They
      shouldn't be, but then, they are clueless about many things, just like most
      people. So they go with the "safe" solution, except that it will kill them.
      (Most of them anyway, except for the few survivors, who survive for
      whatever other reason. Evolutionary selection is so apparent among startups.)

      Enough rambling.

      Dirk
    • Erann Gat
      ... http://www.flownet.com/gat/papers/lisp-java.pdf (See also http://www.flownet.com/gat/papers/ljfaq.html) All this interest in Lisp motivated me to finish a
      Message 2 of 22 , Aug 28, 2002
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        On Wed, 28 Aug 2002, Dirk Riehle wrote:

        > Since we are discussing an age-old problem that the Lisp/CLOS companies had
        > already 10-15 years ago, I wonder whether hasn't been proof of CLOS
        > (programmers') higher effectiveness. Aren't there any studies that show how
        > much more effective you can be with a CLOS (language + tool set) over a
        > C/C++/Java (language + tool set)?

        http://www.flownet.com/gat/papers/lisp-java.pdf

        (See also http://www.flownet.com/gat/papers/ljfaq.html)

        All this interest in Lisp motivated me to finish a writing project that
        I've been working on for about two years recounting my experiences with
        Lisp at JPL. You can find it at:

        http://www.flownet.com/gat/jpl-lisp.html

        Warning: it's not a happy ending (though the first half is actually not
        too terribly depressing, and there's a warning before the scary part.)

        My bottom line on selling Lisp is that if you find yourself having to
        argue about it you've already lost. The right thing to do at that point
        is to find someone else to work for, or even better, start your own
        company and kick your old company's ass.

        Erann
        gat@...
      • Theo D'Hondt
        I promised myself not to let myself be dragged into this kind of discussion but ... Theo D Hondt Programming Technology Lab : Computer Science Department
        Message 3 of 22 , Aug 30, 2002
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          I promised myself not to let myself be dragged into this kind of
          discussion but


          ----------------------------------------------------------------
          Theo D'Hondt
          Programming Technology Lab : Computer Science Department
          Faculty of Sciences : Brussels Free University
          Pleinlaan 2 / B-1050 Brussels / BELGIUM EUROPE
          mailto:tjdhondt@... http://prog.vub.ac.be/~tjdhondt
          Phone : +32-2-629 33 08 Fax : +32-2-629 35 25
          ----------------------------------------------------------------
        • Theo D'Hondt
          but here goes: Common Lisp isn t Lisp and (certainly) neither is CLOS. Lisp might be a thing of beauty but ... I remember being disgusted by the ADA reference
          Message 4 of 22 , Aug 30, 2002
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            but here goes:

            Common Lisp isn't Lisp and (certainly) neither is CLOS. Lisp might be a
            thing of beauty but ... I remember being disgusted by the ADA reference
            manual and then having to submit to the fact that CL/CLOS manuals were
            triple its size. Somewhere in this thread somebody used the term
            "bloated" for something entirely different but it might be applicable
            here. And Scheme as (Common) Lisp subjected to a fitness regime is
            still not satisfactory (does Scheme count 3 or 4 variations on the Let
            special form?). During the first issue of the Feyerabend workshop Dave
            Thomas insisted on the importance of LITTLE languages - I am convinced
            he is right. Lisp might be the original little language but we might be
            able to do better ...
            ----------------------------------------------------------------
            Theo D'Hondt
            Programming Technology Lab : Computer Science Department
            Faculty of Sciences : Brussels Free University
            Pleinlaan 2 / B-1050 Brussels / BELGIUM EUROPE
            mailto:tjdhondt@... http://prog.vub.ac.be/~tjdhondt
            Phone : +32-2-629 33 08 Fax : +32-2-629 35 25
            ----------------------------------------------------------------
          • Pascal Costanza
            ... Here is a quote from an interview with James Gosling (see http://java.sun.com/features/2002/03/gosling.html) ... I think that this is just a pattern that
            Message 5 of 22 , Sep 2, 2002
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              Theo D'Hondt wrote:
              > Common Lisp isn't Lisp and (certainly) neither is CLOS. Lisp might be a
              > thing of beauty but ... I remember being disgusted by the ADA reference
              > manual and then having to submit to the fact that CL/CLOS manuals were
              > triple its size. Somewhere in this thread somebody used the term
              > "bloated" for something entirely different but it might be applicable
              > here.

              Here is a quote from an interview with James Gosling (see
              http://java.sun.com/features/2002/03/gosling.html)

              | JDC: The Java language adds features with every release, and this is
              | generally good, but the whole thing is getting pretty large. If you
              | could take a few things out, what would they be?

              | JG: The Java language actually doesn't add very many features. [...]
              | What has really gone nuts is all the different APIs [...]. And this
              | question, in some sense, is unanswerable. It says, if you could take
              | a few things out of [the] J2SE [platform], what would they be? One
              | of the tragedies we have is that we've got so many customers and
              | everything that is in the platform is critical to a pretty large
              | group of customers. So, for any particular person, any particular
              | developer, not all of [the] J2SE [platform] is going to matter. But
              | for every developer, the slice of the platform that they care about
              | is different. [...]

              I think that this is just a pattern that emerges when you try to balance
              several forces. They are: trying to serve the needs of many potential
              users, trying to achieve portability, and trying to do this all in a
              unified framework. If you drop the unified framework then you get
              several interoperability problems that you need to solve on a case by
              case basis.

              > And Scheme as (Common) Lisp subjected to a fitness regime is
              > still not satisfactory (does Scheme count 3 or 4 variations on the Let
              > special form?). During the first issue of the Feyerabend workshop Dave
              > Thomas insisted on the importance of LITTLE languages - I am convinced
              > he is right. Lisp might be the original little language but we might be
              > able to do better ...

              I don't think that it is possible to show that "little languages" are
              inherently better than big languages (or than languages with big
              libraries). They just resolve different sets of forces.

              The size of a language cannot be a measure in its own right. Although
              "umlambda"
              (http://www.eleves.ens.fr:8080/home/madore/programs/unlambda/) is
              clearly a joke, it shows that the size of a language must be balanced
              against other forces in order to provide something useful.

              I think we are in need of a kind of "Pattern Language of Programming
              Language Design". I am convinced that language advocacies don't make any
              sense and that a PLoPLD would clarify that each programming language
              just tries to balance a different set of forces. I don't think that
              there can ever be a single general-purpose programming language because
              I am convinced that there cannot be consistent resolution of all
              thinkable forces in this regard. However, from what I have seen so far,
              Common Lisp has obviously (to me, at least) successfully managed to
              resolve a relatively large set of fundamental forces.

              Pascal

              --
              Pascal Costanza University of Bonn
              mailto:costanza@... Institute of Computer Science III
              http://www.pascalcostanza.de Römerstr. 164, D-53117 Bonn (Germany)
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