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Re: First draft of the Emacs website

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: First draft of the Emacs website
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 10:10:20 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:

> [[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
> [[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
> [[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]
>   > We don't want to set Lisp up against other languages.
>   > We do want to get across what it offers that benefits
>   > an editor and environment such as Emacs.
> Yes we do, to some extent.  The Emacs web site should say this:
> Lisp is the most powerful and elegant of programming languages.  If
> you want to see how powerful and elegant a programming language can
> be, you need to learn Lisp.  It will give you standard for measuring
> other languages.

It's more like a family of elegance rather than Lisp being its most
elegant member.

For example, a symbol has all of a function cell, a value cell (give and
take lexical binding semantics), a property list (which is global and
O(n) in access), a print name.  How do you lexically scope function cell

In Guile, for comparison, a symbol has a print name.  Period.  Bindings
are either lexical or established in module variables.  There is no
difference between value/function cell, so you can just call whatever
you want without using FUNCALL.

I still don't really know what Lisp's LAMBDA special form is supposed to
return.  You can store the result in a variable, so it seems to be data,
but you can also call it without using FUNCALL, so it seems to have a
function cell.  If you store it anywhere, you can no longer call it
without FUNCALL.  So it seems to have some duplicitous value of which it
loses half whenever you do anything with it.

So I don't buy that Lisp is elegance incarnated.  There is some beauty
running in its family but I don't really think any member got all of it.

David Kastrup

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