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Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp

From: Charles Duffy
Subject: Re: [Gnu-arch-users] OT: Lisp
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 04:12:50 -0600

On Thu, 2003-11-20 at 03:14, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> ...I can't wring any kind of sense from this at all. The best I can
> come up with is this:
> For every language X, that language is entirely focussed on the
> technique "Writing X code".
> Which is obvious, uninteresting, and doesn't seem relevant. Certainly
> not to the original subject of discussion.

I'm not sure that's obvious -- or, even if it's obvious, I'm not sure
that it's *true*. And I think that it rather does have something to do
with the matter at hand.

LISP code, for instance, doesn't necessarily look much the same at all.
(Yes, there are bits involving parenthesis that may look the same no
matter what, but transcribing to a different language syntax should take
that out). Compare code written with traditional LISP without any
unusual macros to code written against the exact same language but which
uses one of the many available libraries providing OO mechanisms -- or,
for a much more dramatic example, compare code written in LISP proper to
code written in CLIPS[1]. Lisp doesn't encourage around "writing Lisp
code" in the same way Perl encourages "writing Perl code".

> I think you'd find python advocates would loudly and viciously
> disagree with you and call you names.

I don't think so, but I'll try asking about it next time I'm in a room
full of them.

> > > The third is from the design for perl6, a language which doesn't exist
> > > yet, but which already has many pages of design outline describing all
> > > the different things that are being combined in it.
> > 
> > Okay, perl6 works -- though I was thinking "ruby" at the time that I
> > wrote it, and I'm quite sure that ruby predates perl6.
> Not to mention java, smalltalk, python... it's a very old phrase. None
> of these languages focus particularly on it.

Ehh? I'd say that for Smalltalk and Ruby it's absolutely a core focus.
Smalltalk, in particular, encouraged the acceptance of a lot of patterns
which are still in use today. (Python and Java both make exceptions to
their OOness -- more the former than the latter. That's not to say I'm
not fond of them nonetheless).

> <shrug> One obvious, one unknown, and one
> ambiguous-but-possibly-related. I (mistakenly, apparently) assumed
> that you had some sort of coherent point to make, so I seized upon the
> only connection I could find, that's all.

Ohhh, a coherent point. You can give up on that in any message where I
mention the words "tired rambling", or any message sent within 1hr of
the same.

[1] - Okay, I cheated a bit: CLIPS isn't quite a proper LISP. The syntax
changes needed to make it one, however, are relatively minor -- and
could be done without making syntax changes likely to result in code
differences that would persist through a good paraphrase.

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