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Re: [feyerabend-project] An introduction to Lisp

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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