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RE: [Axiom-developer] Good Tim

From: Bill Page
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Good Tim
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 11:46:38 -0500

On November 7, 2005 10:10 AM Kai Kaminski wrote:

> I don't feel like participating in the language arguments going
> on at the moment. Still I would like to voice my support for Tim's
> position in this matter.

Thank you for participating anyway. :)

> In particular, I agree with him that BOOT is *not* higher-level
> than Lisp. There is not a single feature in Lisp that can't be
> embedded in Lisp with macros.

I expect you meant to write: 

"There is not a single feature in Boot that can't be embedded
in Lisp with macros."

That is certainly true but it is completely irrelevant. Before
we argue about when something is "higher-level" than something
else, I think we must first define what we mean by "higher-level".
This is difficult.

Perhaps we can agree that Spad is higher-level than Lisp? If
so then I can at least temporarily bypass the exact definition
of the language hierarchy and simply argue that Boot is closer
to Spad than Lisp and so the designation "higher-level" is

If you do not agree that Spad is higher-level than Lisp, then
I think we should talk more about Spad first before talking
about Boot.

> I also agree with him that in open source "advocacy is
> volunteering". Hence I'm willing to start working on converting
> BOOT code to Lisp as soon as Tim tells me that he'll accept
> such patches.

Converting Boot code to Lisp is trivial - just run the compiler.
That is the first step that Tim has already used in his recent
work to which I am objecting. After that, there is the matter of
removing the Boot compiler artefacts. But that is not enough.
If anything is to be converted to Lisp than it seems to me that
it must be converted to a form of Lisp which is at least as
intelligible as the original Boot code.

Of course we can also argue about what is "intelligible". In
this regard my proposed standard again would be Spad. So by
"intelligible" I mean that it must be easily understood by an
Axiom user who is fluent in Spad and may only know Lisp
"in theory", not by extensive practice.

Bill Page.

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