Why lisp is growing

872 views
Skip to first unread message

Marc Spitzer

unread,
Dec 9, 2002, 5:55:54 PM12/9/02
to
here we go

1: 2 new lisp vendors, corman and scl
2: more messages on cll and new faces showing up
3: growing number of open source projects for cl
4: UFFI, get n FFI's for the price of 1
5: several lisp gui's are available
6: new user's groups springing up, ok at least 1.
7: it is pure fun to work with

I am sure I forgot some obvious stuff so please add
it to the lisp, for fun and google.

marc

Peter Seibel

unread,
Dec 9, 2002, 7:31:55 PM12/9/02
to
Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net> writes:

> 4: UFFI, get n FFI's for the price of 1

Just out of curiosity, are any implementors (commercial or otherwise)
thinking about moving their own FFI toward the UFFI? Are there great
differences between different FFI that make them a competitive
advantage or is that an area where there could be a reasonable de
facto standard?

-Peter

--
Peter Seibel
pe...@javamonkey.com

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Dec 9, 2002, 7:48:29 PM12/9/02
to
How about the astonishing number of CL implementations available, and
specificaly the number of open/free/whatever-you-call-them
implementations? I was reminded of this by the recent ECL announcemnt
here. Granted that is subsumed in part by #3, but might be worthy of its
own itemization.


--

kenny tilton
clinisys, inc
---------------------------------------------------------------
""Well, I've wrestled with reality for thirty-five years, Doctor,
and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.""
Elwood P. Dowd

Gabe Garza

unread,
Dec 9, 2002, 8:25:33 PM12/9/02
to
Peter Seibel <pe...@javamonkey.com> writes:

> Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net> writes:
>
> > 4: UFFI, get n FFI's for the price of 1
>
> Just out of curiosity, are any implementors (commercial or otherwise)
> thinking about moving their own FFI toward the UFFI? Are there great
> differences between different FFI that make them a competitive
> advantage or is that an area where there could be a reasonable de
> facto standard?

The biggest obstacle I can see to implementations adopting UFFI is
that some implementations (notably LispWorks and ACL(??)) provide a
"call back" mechanism so you can call Lisp from other languages but
most implementations don't. UFFI doesn't have this functionality;
perhaps it could move from "an implementation that UFFI supports
provides all of this functionality" to "an implementation that UFFI
supports provides a (possibly improper) subset of this functionality."

Gabe Garza

Roger Corman

unread,
Dec 9, 2002, 8:59:14 PM12/9/02
to
On Tue, 10 Dec 2002 01:25:33 GMT, Gabe Garza <g_g...@ix.netcom.com>
wrote:

Corman Lisp supports callbacks as well. Any complete Windows
implementation needs to support them, because so much of the Win32 API
is based on callbacks. Also, I believe Lisp has big potential for
creating extensions, or plug-ins. In Windows this is done with DLLs,
and included functions must all be callable by foreign code.

Roger


Paul F. Dietz

unread,
Dec 9, 2002, 10:45:31 PM12/9/02
to
Marc Spitzer wrote:
> here we go
>
> 1: 2 new lisp vendors, corman and scl
> 2: more messages on cll and new faces showing up
> 3: growing number of open source projects for cl
> 4: UFFI, get n FFI's for the price of 1
> 5: several lisp gui's are available
> 6: new user's groups springing up, ok at least 1.
> 7: it is pure fun to work with

8: ?
9: Profit!

Paul

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 2:58:03 AM12/10/02
to
* Peter Seibel wrote:
> Just out of curiosity, are any implementors (commercial or otherwise)
> thinking about moving their own FFI toward the UFFI? Are there great
> differences between different FFI that make them a competitive
> advantage or is that an area where there could be a reasonable de
> facto standard?

last time I looked at UFFI (which was months ago, I would be glad to
be wrong about what it can do now) it had two crippling issues which
would mean I just could never use it:

- No callbacks, (calls from C into Lisp) which are essential for
things like window system programming, where the underlying system
needs to call into Lisp on events.

- No way of specifying external formats for strings, and having the
conversion to a Lisp string just happen. So for instance if you
have something that deals with UTF-8 encoded strings, you have to
write your own UTF-8 encoder/decoder.

The application I've spent most of my time on since the start of the
year uses expat for XML parsing, which needs callbacks, and deals in
UTF-8 encoded strings. So UFFI isn't much use for me at the moment,
while the implementation's native FFI just works.

--tim

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 4:04:04 AM12/10/02
to
* Kenny Tilton wrote:
> How about the astonishing number of CL implementations available, and
> specificaly the number of open/free/whatever-you-call-them
> implementations? I was reminded of this by the recent ECL announcemnt
> here. Granted that is subsumed in part by #3, but might be worthy of
> its own itemization.

The `languages' (really implementations) perceived to be most
successful - Perl, Python &co often have essentially only one
implementation. I don't think implementation count correlates with
`success' at all.

--tim

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 8:58:10 AM12/10/02
to

Tim Bradshaw wrote:
> * Peter Seibel wrote:
>
>>Just out of curiosity, are any implementors (commercial or otherwise)
>>thinking about moving their own FFI toward the UFFI? Are there great
>>differences between different FFI that make them a competitive
>>advantage or is that an area where there could be a reasonable de
>>facto standard?
>
>
> last time I looked at UFFI (which was months ago, I would be glad to
> be wrong about what it can do now) it had two crippling issues which
> would mean I just could never use it:
>
> - No callbacks, (calls from C into Lisp) which are essential for
> things like window system programming, where the underlying system
> needs to call into Lisp on events.

Well for a cross-platform like Cells, UFFI saves me a lot of trouble.
When I get callbacks I'll do something UFFI-like of my own for the
callbacks, but I would be doing that in any case. UFFI is not costing me
anything, but it is giving me a lot in other areas.

"Crippling" is a bit harsh, but I am guessing you just need to get your
stuff working with one FFI, so UFFI has nothing to offer and all you are
left with are the shortcomings arising from the LCD design.

>
> - No way of specifying external formats for strings, and having the
> conversion to a Lisp string just happen.

that would be sweet.

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 9:10:11 AM12/10/02
to

Tim Bradshaw wrote:
> * Kenny Tilton wrote:
>
>>How about the astonishing number of CL implementations available,
>

> .... I don't think implementation count correlates with
> `success' at all.
>

You confuse necessary with sufficient. You also think we are saying
"Lisp roolz", when we are saying "Lisp will soon rool". Note the subject
line.

Paolo Amoroso

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 9:56:07 AM12/10/02
to
On Mon, 09 Dec 2002 22:55:54 GMT, Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net>
wrote:

> 1: 2 new lisp vendors, corman and scl

The grand total of currently in business _commercial_ vendors of Common
Lisp systems is 9. There are also 6 currently maintained open-source Common
Lisp implementations.


Paolo
--
EncyCMUCLopedia * Extensive collection of CMU Common Lisp documentation
http://www.paoloamoroso.it/ency/README

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 10:09:37 AM12/10/02
to
* Kenny Tilton wrote:

> You confuse necessary with sufficient. You also think we are saying
> "Lisp roolz", when we are saying "Lisp will soon rool". Note the
> subject line.

You confuse statistics with logic, and make silly inferences about my
mental state to boot. Read what I *wrote* not what you think I meant.

--tim

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 10:11:47 AM12/10/02
to
* Kenny Tilton wrote:
> "Crippling" is a bit harsh, but I am guessing you just need to get
> your stuff working with one FFI, so UFFI has nothing to offer and all
> you are left with are the shortcomings arising from the LCD design.

Well, I consider not being able to get my program to run at all on
*any* implementation with UFFI to be pretty crippling, actually.
Maybe `fails to work for the same reasons on all platforms' is seen as
better than `works on several platforms, with porting effort' in
somebody's world.

--tim

Skull

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 10:35:36 AM12/10/02
to
Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> wrote in message news:<ey3isy2...@cley.com>...

PeopleCode :-(

Chris Gehlker

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 10:38:48 AM12/10/02
to
On 12/9/02 3:55 PM, in article 86wumi2...@bogomips.optonline.net, "Marc
Spitzer" <mspi...@optonline.net> wrote:


Another way to characterize the same facts is to think of Lisp eras. In the
first era Lisp was limited to being a research language at a few
Universities. Dialects were largely incompatible. The next era saw the raise
of dedicated Lisp hardware. Lisp moved out of the Universities into
corporations but it was still not something that a individual could
reasonably hope to use. The third era could be called the workstation era.
Lisp was available for commodity hardware but a typical Lisp development
environment still cost several times the going rate for a C/C++/Java/Pascal
setup. Finally we have the current, popular era where Lisp is available free
or commercially at competitive prices for commodity hardware. I don't think
that the word is really out there though. Think how different the world
might be if Borland had introduced TurboLisp instead of TurboPascal.

-----= Posted via Newsfeeds.Com, Uncensored Usenet News =-----
http://www.newsfeeds.com - The #1 Newsgroup Service in the World!
-----== Over 80,000 Newsgroups - 16 Different Servers! =-----

Dave Pearson

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 11:14:07 AM12/10/02
to
* Chris Gehlker <geh...@fastq.com>:

>[SNIP] Think how different the world


> might be if Borland had introduced TurboLisp instead of TurboPascal.

I've got this vague recollection that Borland did sell a Lisp product at one
point in their early days. Am I getting confused?

--
Dave Pearson: | lbdb.el - LBDB interface.
http://www.davep.org/ | sawfish.el - Sawfish mode.
Emacs: | uptimes.el - Record emacs uptimes.
http://www.davep.org/emacs/ | quickurl.el - Recall lists of URLs.

Pascal Costanza

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 11:23:18 AM12/10/02
to
Dave Pearson wrote:
> * Chris Gehlker <geh...@fastq.com>:
>
>
>>[SNIP] Think how different the world
>>might be if Borland had introduced TurboLisp instead of TurboPascal.
>
>
> I've got this vague recollection that Borland did sell a Lisp product at one
> point in their early days. Am I getting confused?
>

They definitely had a TurboProlog!

Pascal

--
Pascal Costanza University of Bonn
mailto:cost...@web.de Institute of Computer Science III
http://www.pascalcostanza.de Römerstr. 164, D-53117 Bonn (Germany)

Daniel Barlow

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 12:43:54 PM12/10/02
to
Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> writes:

Who said anything about 'success'? The thread is discussing the
reasons that Lisp is 'growing'.

'Course, they haven't defined 'growing' either. Maybe the GC is leaking.


-dan

--

http://www.cliki.net/ - Link farm for free CL-on-Unix resources

larry

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 1:02:15 PM12/10/02
to
I was wondering why you don't see articles in computer magazines
extolling the virtues Lisp.I've seen such articles about Ruby,
Python,Perl. Is the dearth or articles on Lisp because Lisp people
don't feel the need
to proselytize and so don't write magazine articles or is it because
computer magazines refuse to publish positive articles about Lisp?


"Paul F. Dietz" <di...@dls.net> wrote in message news:<_AWdnfhnIew...@dls.net>...

Jochen Schmidt

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 2:04:18 PM12/10/02
to
larry wrote:

> I was wondering why you don't see articles in computer magazines
> extolling the virtues Lisp.I've seen such articles about Ruby,
> Python,Perl. Is the dearth or articles on Lisp because Lisp people
> don't feel the need
> to proselytize and so don't write magazine articles or is it because
> computer magazines refuse to publish positive articles about Lisp?


At least in Germany there were several articles in several magazines
published within the last and this year.

ciao,
Jochen

--
http://www.dataheaven.de

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 1:46:42 PM12/10/02
to
* Daniel Barlow wrote:
> Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> writes:

> Who said anything about 'success'? The thread is discussing the
> reasons that Lisp is 'growing'.

> 'Course, they haven't defined 'growing' either. Maybe the GC is leaking.

Well, I guess, in the self-fulfilling sense that there are more
implementations than there used to be this might mean something (but
then why quote all the other reasons it's `growing'). I assumed that
`growing' had some more useful definition like `growing in number of
programmers' or `growing in number and significance of deployed
applications' or something. But I guess making assumptions like that
is somewhat foolish, given the response I got...

--tim

Ed Symanzik

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 2:46:40 PM12/10/02
to
Daniel Barlow wrote:
>
> The thread is discussing the reasons that Lisp is 'growing'.

What got me interested was seeing three slashdot articles in one
month related to Lisp.

Two articles by Paul Graham, "Beating the Averages" and "A Plan
for Spam" - he's a great preacher. Also, an article comparing the
performance of Lisp and Java showed up while I was investigating
Java.

Following up, I discovered a wealth of information online, including
articles, code, tutorials, books(!), and free implementations.
So far, I've been able to find information written to my level
as my exploration expands.

My two biggest obstacles right now are:
- My vi background.
- Lack of a simple project to start on.

Matthew Danish

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 2:57:30 PM12/10/02
to
On Tue, Dec 10, 2002 at 12:31:55AM +0000, Peter Seibel wrote:
> Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net> writes:
>
> > 4: UFFI, get n FFI's for the price of 1
>
> Just out of curiosity, are any implementors (commercial or otherwise)
> thinking about moving their own FFI toward the UFFI? Are there great
> differences between different FFI that make them a competitive
> advantage or is that an area where there could be a reasonable de
> facto standard?

UFFI as it exists currently is the subset of FFI functionality that can
be supported across all platforms. This is obviously not suitable for a
real FFI. I would like to see an effort to create such a standardized
FFI, especially after all the pitfalls I encountered working with CL-SDL
and UFFI. When I have some time I plan on drawing up a basic interface,
but I don't anticipate anything happening soon. There are a number of
inadequacies with the current interfaces, such as macro-based `static'
interfaces where you cannot specify types and slots to be determined at
runtime. I have yet to determine whether this is simply an
implementation choice or something necessary.

--
; Matthew Danish <mda...@andrew.cmu.edu>
; OpenPGP public key: C24B6010 on keyring.debian.org
; Signed or encrypted mail welcome.
; "There is no dark side of the moon really; matter of fact, it's all dark."

Andreas Hinze

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 3:23:44 PM12/10/02
to
larry wrote:
>
> I was wondering why you don't see articles in computer magazines
> extolling the virtues Lisp.I've seen such articles about Ruby,
> Python,Perl. Is the dearth or articles on Lisp because Lisp people
> don't feel the need
> to proselytize and so don't write magazine articles or is it because
> computer magazines refuse to publish positive articles about Lisp?
>
There are not only articles. There are also lisp events (in german language,sorry):

http://www.mdlug.de/index.php/kalender/themenabend-lisp.inc?LAYOUT=mdlugv3

Regards
AHz

Hannah Schroeter

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 3:25:38 PM12/10/02
to
Hello!

Ed Symanzik <z...@msu.edu> wrote:
>[...]

>My two biggest obstacles right now are:
> - My vi background.

You're not alone. I'm using vim 6.x with :set lisp ai sm

Perhaps still not ilisp, but usable.

> - Lack of a simple project to start on.

Use your imagination *g*

Kind regards,

Hannah.

Chris Gehlker

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 4:01:12 PM12/10/02
to
On 12/10/02 9:14 AM, in article slrnavc4mf.p...@hagbard.davep.org,
"Dave Pearson" <davep...@davep.org> wrote:

> * Chris Gehlker <geh...@fastq.com>:
>
>> [SNIP] Think how different the world
>> might be if Borland had introduced TurboLisp instead of TurboPascal.
>
> I've got this vague recollection that Borland did sell a Lisp product at one
> point in their early days. Am I getting confused?

I Google search turned up a reference to an AutoLisp IDE that they
apparently sold at one point.

Heow

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 7:53:36 PM12/10/02
to
> > The thread is discussing the reasons that Lisp is 'growing'.

What set me off on my recent "Lisp Revival" is that since this is my
10th year of professional development, I'm being a little
introspective. So what do I have to show for 10 years of development?
Well, a bunch of C++/Java skills as well as lots of "non-trivial"
problems that simply couldn't be answered no matter which design
patterns you throw at them. Oh yeah, and ~50% of my projects either
failed in spectacular ways or simply never shipped- I'm still trying
to mentally reconcile that.

Yeah, I'll admit I'm also a little bitter as I expected functional
languages to take over the world 5 years ago. On the bright side
though, the rise of Perl, Python, and Ruby have proven to me that PHBs
are finally groking the value of developer time. I think that this
unique period could prove to be beneficial to the lisp community-
especially considering the current amount of "free or nearly-so" Lisp
tools and information available.

Also I feel like I have a bit of catching up to do. 10 years ago
Common Lisp was anything but, and although CLOS technically did exist,
I wasn't aware of it. But to be fair, during that same time, my peers
were driving me nuts by putting C++ on their resumes just because they
liked to use the keen '//' comment operator.

Besides all that, Lisp is fun! You can produce interesting code to
wrap your head around, where in the C++/Java world, all I have to look
forward to anymore is the "Obfuscated C Contest".

Ok, I'm done now, move along folks. :-)

- Heow

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 8:15:14 PM12/10/02
to

Heow wrote:
> Oh yeah, and ~50% of my projects either
> failed in spectacular ways or simply never shipped- I'm still trying
> to mentally reconcile that.

No need. Much of my best work never went into production. One time I got
put on a two-year old dying project. Started from scratch and was ready
for acceptance testing in two months. Users had lost interest by then.

So blame management. If you are management, blame Canada.

:)

Oleg

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 10:52:18 PM12/10/02
to
Hi

In case people are interested in comparing USENET traffic of various
comp.lang groups, there is a site that does just that. It appears that CLL
traffic increased by a factor of 2 in a year. The traffic is measured by
doing google groups querries from a perl script. I'm not sure how reliable
the data is, since google frequently lies about the number of matches
unless all results fit on one page. So if this can be worked around, and if
cross-posted articles and spam are excluded, it would be interesting to
look at the results. Here is the link:
http://www.chez.com/prigaux/language-study/usenet-traffic-ranking/

Another interesting thing to look at would be the percentage of articles
containing insulting words in various groups.

Oleg

Oleg

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 11:09:14 PM12/10/02
to
Heow wrote:

> Besides all that, Lisp is fun! You can produce interesting code to
> wrap your head around, where in the C++/Java world, all I have to look
> forward to anymore is the "Obfuscated C Contest".


<quote source="http://mindprod.com/unmaintricks.html">

LISP is a dream language for the writer of unmaintainable code. Consider
these baffling fragments:

(lambda (*<8-]= *<8-[= ) (or *<8-]= *<8-[= ))
(defun :-] (<) (= < 2))
(defun !(!)(if(and(funcall(lambda(!)(if(and '(< 0)(< ! 2))1 nil))(1+ !))
(not(null '(lambda(!)(if(< 1 !)t nil)))))1(* !(!(1- !)))))

</quote>

BTW, the web site itself is a very entertaining read.

Oleg

marcel haesok

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 11:12:01 PM12/10/02
to

"Marc Spitzer" <mspi...@optonline.net> wrote in message
news:86wumi2...@bogomips.optonline.net...

> here we go
>
> 1: 2 new lisp vendors, corman and scl
> 2: more messages on cll and new faces showing up
> 3: growing number of open source projects for cl
> 4: UFFI, get n FFI's for the price of 1
> 5: several lisp gui's are available
> 6: new user's groups springing up, ok at least 1.
> 7: it is pure fun to work with
>
> I am sure I forgot some obvious stuff so please add
> it to the lisp, for fun and google.
>


I would add an item:
8. CPU has become so powerful that the market is
becomming ready for commercially viable AI products.


Frank A. Adrian

unread,
Dec 10, 2002, 11:25:27 PM12/10/02
to
Heow wrote:
> Besides all that, Lisp is fun!

This is the essential and most important reason!

faa

Kenny Tilton

unread,
Dec 11, 2002, 12:20:57 AM12/11/02
to

Oleg wrote:
> Another interesting thing to look at would be the percentage of articles
> containing insulting words in various groups.

That's a fuckin' great idea!

Bruce Hoult

unread,
Dec 11, 2002, 3:16:48 AM12/11/02
to
In article <9Or1PUEJ6SRosq...@4ax.com>,
Paolo Amoroso <amo...@mclink.it> wrote:

> On Mon, 09 Dec 2002 22:55:54 GMT, Marc Spitzer <mspi...@optonline.net>
> wrote:
>
> > 1: 2 new lisp vendors, corman and scl
>
> The grand total of currently in business _commercial_ vendors of Common
> Lisp systems is 9. There are also 6 currently maintained open-source Common
> Lisp implementations.

I've got to say that's a lot.

How many C++ compilers are there these days? Fewer than nine, perhaps.

-- Bruce

Oleg

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 5:04:04 AM12/12/02
to
On the subject of why the popularity of Lisp is growing (if that's the
case): perhaps this is because Lisp got a lot better than it was. My
understanding is that Lisp used to be quite bad, and it made some
improvements: lexical scoping instead of dynamic helped make it somewhat
less error-prone, and sophisticated GC and compiled execution helped make
some Lisp implementations reasonably efficient.

Oleg

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 5:10:41 AM12/12/02
to

But these things happened at least 20 years ago...

--tim

Tom Lord

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 5:58:07 AM12/12/02
to

Western capitalism has been highly oppressive, highly corrupt, and
highly irrational about engineering for longer than that. Good
lisp-based engineering optimizes rationally, but not in ways commonly
favored by CFOs. Those factors have kept lisp (including scheme)
down.

Some notable recent commercial successes of lisp have been in areas
that were sufficiently complicated that the probability that only a
lisp hacker could achieve results was high.

Lisp may be gaining a little, but "engineering by ignorant management
platitudes" and "engineering by quarterly results" is still (all too)
popular.

Good lisp hackers: go get your MBA, maybe?

-t

Oleg

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 6:06:50 AM12/12/02
to
Tim Bradshaw wrote:

I'll quote Graham 1996: "Until RECENTLY, most Lisp implementations have had
bad garbage collectors".

Oleg

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 8:19:02 AM12/12/02
to
* oleg inconnu wrote:

> I'll quote Graham 1996: "Until RECENTLY, most Lisp implementations have had
> bad garbage collectors".

I think his definition of `recently' is pretty loose, and also `most'
doesn't really count: it should only take one good implementation.
I'm unclear when stock-hardware lisps got good GCs, but I suspect that
LispM lisps had good ones in about 1985 (so, OK that's 17 years, sorry
I exaggerated).

--tim

Joe Marshall

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 9:14:22 AM12/12/02
to
Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> writes:

The LMI Lambda had generational GC circa 1985 - 1987 (it existed in
1985, but it took a while to get find all the places in the microcode
that were a bit cavalier with pointers). Symbolics had it a couple of
years earlier. Patrick Sobalvarro did Lucid's around 1987-1988.

Paolo Amoroso

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 10:10:29 AM12/12/02
to
On Thu, 12 Dec 2002 10:58:07 -0000, lo...@emf.emf.net (Tom Lord) wrote:

> Good lisp hackers: go get your MBA, maybe?

Can't do it now, too busy with my MFA :)


Paolo
--
EncyCMUCLopedia * Extensive collection of CMU Common Lisp documentation
http://www.paoloamoroso.it/ency/README

Duane Rettig

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 12:00:00 PM12/12/02
to
Joe Marshall <j...@ccs.neu.edu> writes:

Allegro CL's generational gc was first committed to source file management
on 9/25/87.

--
Duane Rettig du...@franz.com Franz Inc. http://www.franz.com/
555 12th St., Suite 1450 http://www.555citycenter.com/
Oakland, Ca. 94607 Phone: (510) 452-2000; Fax: (510) 452-0182

Christopher C. Stacy

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 12:00:24 PM12/12/02
to
>>>>> On 12 Dec 2002 09:14:22 -0500, Joe Marshall ("Joe") writes:

Joe> Tim Bradshaw <t...@cley.com> writes:
>> * oleg inconnu wrote:
>>
>> > I'll quote Graham 1996: "Until RECENTLY, most Lisp implementations have had
>> > bad garbage collectors".
>>
>> I think his definition of `recently' is pretty loose, and also `most'
>> doesn't really count: it should only take one good implementation.
>> I'm unclear when stock-hardware lisps got good GCs, but I suspect that
>> LispM lisps had good ones in about 1985 (so, OK that's 17 years, sorry
>> I exaggerated).

Joe> The LMI Lambda had generational GC circa 1985 - 1987 (it existed in
Joe> 1985, but it took a while to get find all the places in the microcode
Joe> that were a bit cavalier with pointers). Symbolics had it a couple of
Joe> years earlier. Patrick Sobalvarro did Lucid's around 1987-1988.

In 1980, we used Lisp Machines running for weeks at a time.
The garbage collector was "good enough" for that.

Hannah Schroeter

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 11:23:06 AM12/12/02
to
Hello!

Bruce Hoult <br...@hoult.org> wrote:
>[...]

>> The grand total of currently in business _commercial_ vendors of Common
>> Lisp systems is 9. There are also 6 currently maintained open-source Common
>> Lisp implementations.

>I've got to say that's a lot.

That's right.

>How many C++ compilers are there these days? Fewer than nine, perhaps.

More, I guess. The free ones may well be less than in the CL case
(gcc, tcc come to my mind), but the commercial ones are many, about
one per CPU architecture at least (the CPU vendor's one), plus
non-CPU-vendor versions (MicroSoft, Borland [or whatever their name
is today], etc.).

Kind regards,

Hannah.

Kaz Kylheku

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 4:26:09 PM12/12/02
to
lo...@emf.emf.net (Tom Lord) wrote in message news:<uvgqtv3...@corp.supernews.com>...

> >> On the subject of why the popularity of Lisp is growing (if
> >> that's the case): perhaps this is because Lisp got a lot
> >> better than it was. My understanding is that Lisp used to
> >> be quite bad, and it made some improvements: lexical
> >> scoping instead of dynamic helped make it somewhat less
> >> error-prone, and sophisticated GC and compiled execution
> >> helped make some Lisp implementations reasonably efficient.
>
> > But these things happened at least 20 years ago...
>
> Western capitalism has been highly oppressive, highly corrupt, and
> highly irrational about engineering for longer than that. Good
> lisp-based engineering optimizes rationally, but not in ways commonly
> favored by CFOs. Those factors have kept lisp (including scheme)
> down.

Nonsense. If you are optimizing in a way that does not jive with
capitalism, then you aren't doing it rationally. Ultimately,
programming decisions, in a commercial setting, are traceable to
business cases. Every competent programmer, Lisp or otherwise,
understands this.

> Some notable recent commercial successes of lisp have been in areas
> that were sufficiently complicated that the probability that only a
> lisp hacker could achieve results was high.
>
> Lisp may be gaining a little, but "engineering by ignorant management
> platitudes" and "engineering by quarterly results" is still (all too)
> popular.

Stupid management is not the same thing as capitalism. It's just
stupidity in a capitalist setting. Stupid management wastes
opportunities and wastes profit in ways that the smart CFO would
certainly not approve of, if they had greater visibility to him or
her.

The problem with stupid management is that it's carried out by idiots
who are too concerned with politics and personalities, rather than
getting the job done as fast and as best as possible. It's a hidden
form of socialism that rots the underbelly of capitalism. People must
``be a team player'' and ``feel good'' and all that collectivist crap.

The manager's true job is to allocate resources and remove obstacles
(which includes people) that stand in the way of the most productive
individuals, not to create useless, time-wasting protocols and
rituals.

It's collectivism that keeps bad programming tools in use! We wouldn't
want the idiots to feel bad or learn anything new, so let's stick with
the dumb, common-denominator crap that everyone already understands.
The goal is not to produce, but to live harmoniously with your fellow
man in the hours 9 to 5, whose feelings would be hurt if he were
outperformed by someone using a different programming language.
Moreover, the workers aren't individuals. They are just
interchangeable warm bodies. One programmer in language X is just as
good as another programmer of language X; every human is the same.
What is all this, if not a kind of micro-socialism within a
corporation?

But, ironically, when we actually make a product and market it, of
course we will insist that our product is different, and better than
everything else, demanding that customers apply a better reasoning
when selecting our product than what we did when we selected our
tools.

Oleg

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 4:58:47 PM12/12/02
to
Kaz Kylheku wrote:

> The problem with stupid management is that it's carried out by idiots
> who are too concerned with politics and personalities, rather than
> getting the job done as fast and as best as possible. It's a hidden
> form of socialism that rots the underbelly of capitalism. People must
> ``be a team player'' and ``feel good'' and all that collectivist crap.

This is quite off-topic, but I must say I couldn't agree more. Socialism is
like capitalism when the whole country is one big [inefficient]
corporation.

Oleg

Tom Lord

unread,
Dec 12, 2002, 6:40:58 PM12/12/02
to

> Western capitalism has been highly oppressive, highly
> corrupt, and highly irrational about engineering for longer
> than that. Good lisp-based engineering optimizes
> rationally, but not in ways commonly favored by CFOs. Those
> factors have kept lisp (including scheme) down.

Nonsense. If you are optimizing in a way that does not jive
with capitalism,

You misunderstand. Capitalism itself isn't the problem. Capitalism
as it has been operated around here is.

Stupid management is not the same thing as capitalism.

I can see how things got confused.

By "Western capitalism" I meant our particular capitalist
institutions -- not the abstract economic strategy of capitalism.

Better (new and/or improved) capitalist institutions will do a better
job, and that probably includes applying lisp and lisp talent in more
situations.

If it were capitalism itself I was criticizing, I probably wouldn't
have suggested getting MBAs (though maybe you thought I was advocating
a take-down from the inside :-).

People on usenet are often really touchy about perceived or actual
criticisms of capitalism and very reflexive about their replies.
That's sad. It's intellectually stifling.

-t

Rand Sobriquet

unread,
Dec 13, 2002, 6:43:46 AM12/13/02
to

Oleg,

May I ask what language(s) you use for development? From your message
it seems that you are comparing (implicitly) CL to a language that you
are currently using.

I am working on a commercial project whose implementation can be
nicely described with CLOS. Later, however, I am interested in doing
a small, numerical-extensive project: I would not mind learning a new
language if there's some advantages in speed.

Thanks,
Rand

Nils Kassube

unread,
Dec 13, 2002, 11:49:58 AM12/13/02
to
larry...@hotmail.com (larry) writes:

> Python,Perl. Is the dearth or articles on Lisp because Lisp people
> don't feel the need to proselytize and so don't write magazine
> articles or is it because computer magazines refuse to publish
> positive articles about Lisp?

A good article takes a lot of work. The money you earn by writing
computer magazine articles is almost never worth the effort. Many
articles are just PR for other things its author sells: consulting,
training, whatever. Maybe we can deduce that all competent Lisp
programmers are already busy with more lucrative business :-)

K