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Re: Switching to ECMAscript

From: Andreas Enge
Subject: Re: Switching to ECMAscript
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 16:07:50 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)


this is quite outrageous, and if you decide to follow this road, I am certain
to quit the project, and maybe even fork it.

I agree that the choice of using Scheme/Guile was maybe made in a hurry and
prematurely. Scheme dialects seem to follow the paradigm "one language, one
programmer" - at the Chaos Communication Congress, I did not meet two people
at the Lisp table programming in the same dialect! With our number of contri-
butors, we have already quite transgressed on this rule. Also, the functional
paradigm is a bit dated. Admittedly, we have package "objects", inheriting
from others, but this feels a bit like an add-on to modernise the language.

However, there are much more reasonable choices than Ecmascript, with its
quirky object model, and whose functional features imply that maybe we would
not completely get rid of the past. Personally, I think we should switch to

Among my teaching colleagues, this is now the language of choice - just about
everybody uses it! So I think that on the way to world domination, which we
should strive for, this will give us lots of opportunity (and set a positive
precedent in the GNU project, which could also use such a modernising boost).
Personally, getting a grasp on Python would be very helpful for me and serve
as an introduction to Sage, the major free mathematics software regrouping
more or less all such free software under one umbrella.

Python is a modern programming language, and I think that also from an equal
opportunity point of view it would be a good choice: While Lisp is a left-
over from a time where computer science was essentially at the reach of
white males in the developed world, a switch could be seen as a step towards
a more inclusive environment (notice, for instance, that the OLPC Sugar
environment is written in Python).

It is unfortunate that also Nix prepares a switch to Ecmascript; while
I consider it a positive sign that they envision an alternative language,
maybe there is still the possibility of convincing them of the merits of
Python; we might even join forces and form one community.

What do you think?


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