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Re: Lisp

From: tomas
Subject: Re: Lisp
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2020 10:49:55 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Wed, Jul 08, 2020 at 07:58:02PM -0500, sergio hernandez wrote:
> Hi people, I have a concern of the use of a language derived of scheme how
> Lisp or Guile.

It's the other way around. LISP (written in all caps, it*s *that*
old) is the grandmother. Born around 1958 [1], it is one of the
oldest programming languages around. Nevertheless, it's still
young, having adapted to almost every change of its environments
(and those has changed a lot, believe me).

If you want to get a first impression on LISP, have a look at [2],
which is a paper book, but perhaps some library around you carries
it. The web site is funny, though :)

Scheme [3], OTOH, is kind of the '70ies LISP's hippy daugther (I'm not
saying that in any dismissive way: on the contrary, I'm seriously in
love with Scheme, but hey, I'm /that/ generation). If you want to get
an impression on Scheme, SICP [4] is the book for you, available online
(for free) or as a physical book.

Scheme is a lot like Javascript, because actually, Javascript began
as a kind of Scheme in Brendan Eich's head (somewhere early 1990s,
I think), but then he had to force it into COBOL's -- uh -- Java's
clothes for marketing reasons. Or something like that.

> Why GNU uses this languages for develop many of the software
> like mcron, emacs, freetalk, etc?  Thanks for your answer.

Most probably for historical reasons. The time GNU was born, Lisp
Machines [5] were just the sexiest things around, and, although
proprietary, they embodied one of the core ideas of GNU, that is
that you can reach into every nook and cranny of your system at
any time and change it, ideally while it's running, and see the
effects immediately. You, the user, are at the same time the system
administrator and the programmer. You are the boss.

There is a lot in Emacs which resembles such a Lisp machine. You
can ask the help system about a function, and it will take you to
the source (be it Lisp or C), and you can /edit that source/ see
what effects that has (OK, OK: you'll have to re-load, in the case
of C you'll have to recompile, so there are still a few hurdles
to take, but with some determination you'll finally get there).


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LISP
[2] http://landoflisp.com/
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheme_(programming_language)
[4] https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/sicp/full-text/book/book.html
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisp_Machine

-- t

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