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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: bootstrap Meta/Boot

From: M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: bootstrap Meta/Boot
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2007 21:41:27 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070807 SeaMonkey/1.1.4

Gabriel Dos Reis wrote:

> In fact that is open to debate, by reality check.  The only "good"
> Common Lisp compiler I know freely available is SBCL, and we don't
> support it right now.  And Common Lisp actually gives you very little
> support to write useful programs.

Well ... SBCL is a re-write of CMUCL, which I thought was freely
available, except on Windows. The libraries for Common Lisp are immense,

> In fact, once I got deep into Axiom internals, I found (Common) Lisp
> just too low level, incomplete and unhelpful by times.  As probably
> did the original designers and developers of Axiom; and they developed
> languages to help them accomplish their tasks.

Well, considering the long history of Axiom and its predecessors, that's
not surprising. But once you *have* Axiom capable of compiling itself,
do you really need the underlying scaffolding, or can you take it down
and just use the building?

> Check out Domain Specific Languages (DSLs).  Or if you're washing
> SPJ's talk, you've probably have heard it by now.  Note also that 
> Boot+Spad are close to Haskell and ahead of their times.  We want
> that.  In particular, we don't want to indefinitely stay at the 
> low level of Lisp.

I just buzzed through the SPJ slides. I've been a big fan of functional
programming languages, denotational semantics, etc. since Lisp 1.5. I
haven't bothered to learn Haskell or any of the ML family yet, partly
because I don't get paid to write in functional languages, and partly
because of all the functional languages around today, the one that I
think has the strongest legs is Erlang. *That's* the one I'm learning at
the moment.

As far as DSLs are concerned, since I also hang out with the Ruby crowd,
I'm familiar with DSLs. I don't necessarily think they're a good thing
-- I much prefer, as you seem to, higher-level abstractions in
programming languages. You may need a hierarchy of languages to get
there, but do you need it forever?

One final note about the Simon Peyton Jones slides -- I absolutely
positively *detest* the vernacular "drinking the Kool-Aid". It refers to
a sad incident in which an insane and vicious man duped hundreds of
people into drinking poison. That's *not* the kind of image I want to be
associated with the fruits of *my* labors -- ever!  Haskell Curry
deserves better than that.
> Standard ML compilers were once written in Lisp.  They are no more.

Are they written in Standard ML? If so, they've successfully taken down
the scaffolding.

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