One reason Lisp hasn't caught on: the name

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Robert

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Jun 18, 2008, 5:16:24 PM6/18/08
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Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
name of the programming language.
Just ask the marketers at Sun, or Matz. Those were good names.

Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
much damage he did. It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
hard to measure the damage.

Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk and can't g-g-
get the g-g-girl.

Lisp is a disgraceful name, worse than useless. And while SAP somehow
succeeded in spite of their dumb name choice, Lisp is more like Nova
( the car marketing campaign , Nova means in spanish "does not go" ).
The name choice is certainly one reason the community has struggled to
grow.

Who came up with that name? What the hell was he thinking? The answer
is , he wasn't thinking.

Oh, and the name Scheme is better, but not much.

Rupert Swarbrick

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Jun 18, 2008, 5:20:36 PM6/18/08
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Robert <irish...@gmail.com> writes:

One very hungry troll. Do not feed? [And now on my kill-list]

Rupert

Pascal J. Bourguignon

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Jun 18, 2008, 6:38:02 PM6/18/08
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Robert <irish...@gmail.com> writes:

> Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
> name of the programming language.
> Just ask the marketers at Sun, or Matz. Those were good names.
>
> Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
> much damage he did. It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
> hard to measure the damage.
>
> Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk and can't g-g-
> get the g-g-girl.

Perhaps but most programmers just don't know that LISP is something
else than the name of a programming language. Most programmers aren't
native English speakers and have only the minimal English vocabulary
needed to read software documentations.


> Lisp is a disgraceful name, worse than useless. And while SAP somehow
> succeeded in spite of their dumb name choice,

And how many programmers know that SAP is something other than System
Analysis and Program development? We just ARE NOT English! We don't
know all your strange words and much less your pejorative and slang
words. Did your foreign language teacher have you learn lists of
foreign slang words? I doubt it. Well we were busy enough trying to
learn irregular verbs, no time to learn about slang meanings of
technical words.

> Lisp is more like Nova
> ( the car marketing campaign , Nova means in spanish "does not go" ).

That's wrong.
In Spanish, « nova » means "nova".
"Does not go" is « no va » in Spanish.

And a new start, it's rather positive a concept.


> The name choice is certainly one reason the community has struggled to
> grow.
>
> Who came up with that name? What the hell was he thinking? The answer
> is , he wasn't thinking.

Well at the time, men were straight men, gay people were happy, and
nobody affected any lisping. And youtube didn't exist to give you
irrelevant videos when searching for LISP.


> Oh, and the name Scheme is better, but not much.


I've always been fascinated by the way IBM used to name their
programs: IEFBR14, IEHPROGM, IKJEFT01 and so on.


Let's all program in PLWP42!


--
__Pascal Bourguignon__ http://www.informatimago.com/

CAUTION: The mass of this product contains the energy equivalent of
85 million tons of TNT per net ounce of weight.

Rainer Joswig

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Jun 18, 2008, 6:39:59 PM6/18/08
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In article <87d4meb...@hubble.informatimago.com>,

p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon) wrote:

> Robert <irish...@gmail.com> writes:
>
> > Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
> > name of the programming language.
> > Just ask the marketers at Sun, or Matz. Those were good names.
> >
> > Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
> > much damage he did. It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
> > hard to measure the damage.
> >
> > Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk and can't g-g-
> > get the g-g-girl.
>
> Perhaps but most programmers just don't know that LISP is something
> else than the name of a programming language. Most programmers aren't
> native English speakers and have only the minimal English vocabulary
> needed to read software documentations.

to lisp (English) <-> lispeln (Deutsch)

;-)

--
http://lispm.dyndns.org/

Robert

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Jun 18, 2008, 6:45:05 PM6/18/08
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On Jun 18, 6:38 pm, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon)
wrote:

It can take weeks or even months to see the benefits of a language,
especially a high-level one such as Lisp, Haskell , or C++. But you
hear the name in the very first instant of exposure to the language.
That matters. If the size of the user-base matters, then marketing
matters. It has taken me a long time to realize the benefits of Lisp,
a very long time. Programmers can ignore Lisp because of it's stupid
parentheses for fifteen years, and then only give it a serious look
decades later. But it only takes 2 seconds to see that it's a stupid
name.

Java definitely benefited by the name choice. Ruby probably also
benefited. Python and Haskell are OK. Scheme is barely OK, actually it
kind of sucks. But the worst choice of programming language is
undoubtedly Lisp. The name hurts.

Given the size of the english speaking countries, you can't ignore the
english-sounding effect.

SAP chose a terrible name, and got away with it, probably because of
intensive marketing to large corporations, different from dealing with
individuals, and also they had a solid strength in Germany before
embarking into America.

The creators of Lisp chose a truly terrible name, and they did not get
away with it. It's hard to measure the impact. It definitely had a big
impact. Guys in the bookstore or college have an occasion to think
about the language for a few minutes, and then walk away. That's when
the name matters.

Some languages have names that are not so great. But Lisp is in a
category by itself.

Robert

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Jun 18, 2008, 6:47:26 PM6/18/08
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> category by itself.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Correction: Worst choice of programming language NAME.

Rob St. Amant

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Jun 18, 2008, 6:52:07 PM6/18/08
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Robert <irish...@gmail.com> writes:

> Java definitely benefited by the name choice. Ruby probably also
> benefited. Python and Haskell are OK. Scheme is barely OK, actually it
> kind of sucks. But the worst choice of programming language is
> undoubtedly Lisp. The name hurts.

Anyone using a search engine in the mid-90s to find material
concerning LaTeX would probaby agree, based on the pages found, that
that language holds the prize for the most unfortunate name.

Dimiter "malkia" Stanev

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Jun 18, 2008, 7:03:11 PM6/18/08
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Well yeah, Microsoft is also a dumb name.

Paul Donnelly

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Jun 18, 2008, 8:14:29 PM6/18/08
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Robert <irish...@gmail.com> writes:

> Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
> name of the programming language.
> Just ask the marketers at Sun, or Matz. Those were good names.
>
> Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
> much damage he did. It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
> hard to measure the damage.
>
> Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk and can't g-g-
> get the g-g-girl.

All these computer programmers are saying to themselves, "Oh, I don't
want to learn this language: it will turn me into a nerd!" I seriously
doubt most of them are as repulsed by the name as you are. Maybe some
are even intrigued by a language that is seemingly named after a speech
impediment. But it's okay, because even if the name doesn't work we
still have the parens, which never fail to send nosy programmers
packing.

Kaz Kylheku

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Jun 18, 2008, 8:29:24 PM6/18/08
to
On Jun 18, 3:45 pm, Robert <irishhac...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Java definitely benefited by the name choice. Ruby probably also
> benefited. Python and Haskell are OK. Scheme is barely OK, actually it
> kind of sucks. But the worst choice of programming language is
> undoubtedly Lisp. The name hurts.

Oh yeah, I can see that. Picture yourself in a in a club. Would you
rather approach that babe with your l.l.lisp, or with a python in your
pants?

Now I'm thinking at your level!

Life is one big highschool movie a la American Pie, etc.

> Guys in the bookstore or college have an occasion to think
> about the language for a few minutes, and then walk away. That's when
> the name matters.

Indeed. So your points are:

1. There are people who make important decisions based on the sound of
a name.
2. Some of those people aspire to be programmers.
3. They skip Lisp because of the name, which damages the popularity of
Lisp.

But you are missing the next logical point #4 which (assuming all of
this is true) is far more significant than your concern about the
popularity of Lisp:

4. Some of those people end up programming anyway.

Do we really want to be running software (written in /any/ language)
that is developed by people who chose their tools based on how cool
their name sounded?

Kenny

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Jun 18, 2008, 8:57:08 PM6/18/08
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Robert wrote:
> Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
> name of the programming language.

Precisely. That and the logo. We're working on both. Ciel seems to be
the name of choice, mostly because I thought of it, these guys do what I
tell them.

> Just ask the marketers at Sun, or Matz. Those were good names.

Matz? never heard of it.

>
> Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
> much damage he did.

I asked McCarthy at an ILC how they cocked up the name. Seems he wanted
something like FLPL, for Fortran List Processing Language. He offered no
explanation for the disaster.

> It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
> hard to measure the damage.

I use a metric yardstick.

>
> Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk and can't g-g-
> get the g-g-girl.
>
> Lisp is a disgraceful name, worse than useless. And while SAP somehow
> succeeded in spite of their dumb name choice, Lisp is more like Nova
> ( the car marketing campaign , Nova means in spanish "does not go" ).
> The name choice is certainly one reason the community has struggled to
> grow.
>
> Who came up with that name? What the hell was he thinking? The answer
> is , he wasn't thinking.

It would be fun to work on an answer to that question. Were they sitting
around in a pub drunk as lords yelling out stupid names trying for the
worst?

You seem awfully upset about the matter, it might help if you realize
they had no idea they had just created the perfect language and would be
living with the name for eternity.

>
> Oh, and the name Scheme is better, but not much.

I don't know, a lisp is just a minor speech impediment, scheming can
involve evil intent. It's like Limp vs Connive.

hth, kenny

George Neuner

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Jun 18, 2008, 10:21:13 PM6/18/08
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On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 00:38:02 +0200, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J.
Bourguignon) wrote:

>Robert <irish...@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> Lisp is more like Nova
>> ( the car marketing campaign , Nova means in spanish "does not go" ).
>
>That's wrong.
>In Spanish, « nova » means "nova".
>"Does not go" is « no va » in Spanish.
>
>And a new start, it's rather positive a concept.

That's true, but the Nova marketing campaign certainly did fail ...
though in South America rather than Spain.

I'm certainly no expert on things Latin, but I did once see a show on
PBS about an effort to create a kind of "world news" Spanish language
radio program that would be broadcast to several countries in South
America. The writers spent 10-12 hours daily translating wire news
for their 1/2 hour broadcast. Naturally the copy was updated
throughout the day as news developed, but according to the writers, a
large part of their time was spent reworking copy because "every third
word was offensive slang in some area covered by the broadcast" and
they often could not figure out how to report in a way that would be
acceptably inoffensive everywhere.

George
--
for email reply remove "/" from address

Peter Christensen

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Jun 18, 2008, 10:23:33 PM6/18/08
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Paul Tarvydas

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Jun 19, 2008, 1:17:27 AM6/19/08
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Robert wrote:

>> > Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
>> > much damage he did. It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
>> > hard to measure the damage.

...


> But it only takes 2 seconds to see that it's a stupid
> name.
>
> Java definitely benefited by the name choice. Ruby probably also

...


> Some languages have names that are not so great. But Lisp is in a
> category by itself.

You are currently too young to understand. (This is not a criticism, simply
a fact).

Lisp originated around 1958.

At the time, the name "LISP" was VERY cool and quite catchy. Cultural
leanings (including the meaning of certain words) were quite different.
The name "LISP" was very risque, in that context.

At the time, LISP was on the leading edge of a pre-Cambrian explosion in
languages. FORTRAN, LISP, COBOL, SNOBOL, APL, BASIC, Forth, SP/K, Planner,
Euclid, ADA, Pascal, B, C, Modula, Lex, Yacc, Awk, Sed, TeX, Pic, Icon,
Prolog, ML, Smalltalk, etc, etc, including 10's if not 100's of languages
that were invented during the language wave.

The fact that LISP continues to be a vibrant, living language to this day
shows that the language design transcended its name. LISP (and its name)
did get huge market share - LISP owned the field of AI for at least a
decade. The opportunities were markedly different back then. LISP grabbed
an important slice of the then-available market.

LISP has experienced 3 of the 4 phases of a business cycle - introduction,
growth and maturity. LISP's maturity phase has been astoundingly
long-lasting. (LISP+AI did, also, experience a temporary (couple of decade
long) fourth decline phase, which had nothing to do with LISP or its name).

Java sounded "cool" a decade ago

In this age of "fair trade coffee", the term "java" might become politically
incorrect in just a few more years.

Get back to us when Java is 50+ years old, and let us know how smart that
naming decision sounds (assuming anyone remembers it by then).

In fact, when you first write an email such as this one, to someone younger
than you, be sure to CC: me.

pt

Lars Rune Nøstdal

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Jun 19, 2008, 2:56:57 AM6/19/08
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If the name repels people(#1) that care about such things then I'm glad
Lisp has the name it does.


#1: all of them; programmers, "marketing-people", customers or whatever

--
Lars Rune Nøstdal
http://nostdal.org/

z0ltan

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Jun 19, 2008, 3:56:50 AM6/19/08
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Are you for real???? :P

j.oke

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Jun 19, 2008, 4:26:14 AM6/19/08
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On Jun 18, 11:16 pm, Robert <irishhac...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Like it or not...

My vote goes for PILS:

Powerful.
Intelligent.
Lispy.
Sparkling.

Pils! Refresh yourself! It's coooool!!

Happy now?

-JO

John Thingstad

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Jun 19, 2008, 4:50:11 AM6/19/08
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HELP? Highlevel Environment for List Processing
Imagine the number of users we would get by accident!
Gotta be the best marketing ploy ever.. ;)

--------------
John Thingstad

Pascal J. Bourguignon

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Jun 19, 2008, 5:07:04 AM6/19/08
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Another memorable quote by

Kenny <kent...@gmail.com> writes:

> You seem awfully upset about the [name of LISP], it might help if


> you realize they had no idea they had just created the perfect
> language and would be living with the name for eternity.


Thanks.
--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

Ariel

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Jun 19, 2008, 6:05:45 AM6/19/08
to
For me, the hardest thing to get past when deciding to give Lisp a try was that it was so old. There is the argument that "but it's still around for a reason", but I find the largest hurdle being documentation weighed down by outdated content. I can never be sure if what I'm reading is a best solution or even applicable for problems in regards to todays capabilities/manifestation.

For me the name Lisp is just an inconvenience when trying to speak to people about it, requiring an effort to supply a clear context.

Anyone who will look past a tool because of the name doesn't deserve its power, imho. I say this and yet I am also known to cruely winnow my choices for the most base reasons on a regular basis ;p

Having said all that, I still don't disagree with you on any particular point.

j.oke

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Jun 19, 2008, 6:45:52 AM6/19/08
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On Jun 19, 12:05 pm, Ariel <n...@mail.poo> wrote:
> [...]

> Having said all that, I still don't disagree with you on any particular point.

Having read all that, I still don't neither agree nor disagree with
all of your points (especially with all those ones you didn't have
the time to mention at all).

-JO

Ariel

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Jun 19, 2008, 8:25:19 AM6/19/08
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Heh, well played sir.

Kenny

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Jun 19, 2008, 9:47:43 AM6/19/08
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Ariel wrote:
> For me, the hardest thing to get past when deciding to give Lisp a
> try was that it was so old.

If you have been using Python and Perl or even HTML/DHTML/DXML heavily
waiting for those languages to figure out what they want to be when they
grow up so (a) you finally get the missing features and (b) they stop
breaking your existing code, believe me, old and mature sound downright
sexy.

There is the argument that "but it's still around for a reason", but...

...you just brushed it aside!

Well, according to The Beach Rants we should shut up and get back to
coding, and so after a coffee run...

kt

viper-2

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Jun 19, 2008, 9:51:07 AM6/19/08
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On Jun 19, 5:07 am, p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon)
wrote:
> Another memorable quote by

>
> Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> writes:
> > You seem awfully upset about the [name of LISP], it might help if
> > you realize they had no idea they had just created the perfect
> > language and would be living with the name for eternity.
>
> Thanks.

"As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came"

- Alexander Pope

Comes as you Lisp,
Code as data,
Programs writing programs,
Indestructible, transcendental - Lisp.

--agt

Kent M Pitman

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Jun 19, 2008, 10:32:20 AM6/19/08
to
Kenny <kent...@gmail.com> writes:

> You seem awfully upset about the matter, it might help if you realize
> they had no idea they had just created the perfect language and would
> be living with the name for eternity.

Perhaps exaggerated for poetic effect, but nevertheless close enough
to the truth.

Also, importantly, the language really predates the notion that
software itself might be a business, and certainly the notion that a
programming language by itself would need or want to be sold
separately. So the fact that it would not sell well was not exactly
relevant. And what with free software and all, you can't much sell
languages any more anyway, so it's come full circle and this is a
strange time for anyone to have started complaining about how a
language is packaged for sale.

And anyway, the subject line presupposes that Lisp has not caught on.
This is like saying that astrophysics or calculus or brain surgery has
not caught on because in relative numbers, there might be more people
doing other things. The success of Lisp is not measured in the number
of people using it, it's measured in the utility to those people who
do use it. Turning it into C (or C++ or C#) to make it more popular
would not be success. In the world's menu of computer language
options, we don't need them all to be Taco Bell.

Edi Weitz

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Jun 19, 2008, 10:44:30 AM6/19/08
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On 19 Jun 2008 10:32:20 -0400, Kent M Pitman <pit...@nhplace.com> wrote:

> And anyway, the subject line presupposes that Lisp has not caught
> on. This is like saying that astrophysics or calculus or brain
> surgery has not caught on because in relative numbers, there might
> be more people doing other things. The success of Lisp is not
> measured in the number of people using it, it's measured in the
> utility to those people who do use it. Turning it into C (or C++ or
> C#) to make it more popular would not be success. In the world's
> menu of computer language options, we don't need them all to be Taco
> Bell.

Do we have a collection of great Lisp quotes somewhere? We should add
this one!

Thanks,
Edi.

--

Lisp is not dead, it just smells funny.

Real email: (replace (subseq "spam...@agharta.de" 5) "edi")

Pascal J. Bourguignon

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Jun 19, 2008, 12:03:24 PM6/19/08
to
Ariel <n...@mail.poo> writes:

> For me, the hardest thing to get past when deciding to give Lisp a
> try was that it was so old. There is the argument that "but it's
> still around for a reason", but I find the largest hurdle being
> documentation weighed down by outdated content. I can never be sure
> if what I'm reading is a best solution or even applicable for
> problems in regards to todays capabilities/manifestation.

I don't see how it's a problem. Documentation is always outdate, even
new documentation (ie. you always have to take the documentation with
a grain of salt).

On the other hand, when you get some random code, you know you can run
it, whenever it comes from.

Have a look at:
http://www.informatimago.com/develop/lisp/small-cl-pgms/wang.html

or more recently (unreleased yet), if you wanted to execute the editor
of PLisp, which is not even Common Lisp! but that's the point of
Common Lisp, to be a common ground between all the lisp
implementations that were diverging for arbitrary reasons, well you
could still, in 2008 execute that program written thirty years ago in
that old decomissionned dialect:


[pjb@hubble plisp]$ clisp -E iso-8859-1 -ansi
i i i i i i i ooooo o ooooooo ooooo ooooo
I I I I I I I 8 8 8 8 8 o 8 8
I \ `+' / I 8 8 8 8 8 8
\ `-+-' / 8 8 8 ooooo 8oooo
`-__|__-' 8 8 8 8 8
| 8 o 8 8 o 8 8
------+------ ooooo 8oooooo ooo8ooo ooooo 8

Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Michael Stoll 1992, 1993
Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Marcus Daniels 1994-1997
Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Pierpaolo Bernardi, Sam Steingold 1998
Copyright (c) Bruno Haible, Sam Steingold 1999-2000
Copyright (c) Sam Steingold, Bruno Haible 2001-2006

;; Loading file /home/pjb/.clisprc.lisp ...
;; Reading ASDF packages from /home/pjb/asdf-central-registry.data...
; loading system definition from /data/lisp/packages/net/sourceforge/cclan/asdf-install/asdf-install.asd into #<PACKAGE ASDF0>
; registering #<SYSTEM ASDF-INSTALL #x2042442E> as ASDF-INSTALL
0 errors, 0 warnings
; loading system definition from /usr/share/common-lisp/systems/asdf-binary-locations.asd into #<PACKAGE ASDF0>
WARNING: The generic function #<STANDARD-GENERIC-FUNCTION PERFORM> is being
modified, but has already been called.
; registering #<SYSTEM ASDF-BINARY-LOCATIONS #x2040AC96> as ASDF-BINARY-LOCATIONS
WARNING: The generic function #<STANDARD-GENERIC-FUNCTION OUTPUT-FILES> is
being modified, but has already been called.
0 errors, 0 warnings
; loading system definition from PACKAGES:COM;INFORMATIMAGO;COMMON-LISP;SYSTEM.asd into #<PACKAGE ASDF0>
; registering #<SYSTEM :COM.INFORMATIMAGO.COMMON-LISP #x20422DA6> as COM.INFORMATIMAGO.COMMON-LISP
0 errors, 0 warnings
C/USER[1]> (load"plisp.lisp")
;; Loading file plisp.lisp ...
;; Loaded file plisp.lisp
T
C/USER[2]> (in-package :plisp-user)
#<PACKAGE PLISP-USER>
C/PLISP-USER[3]> (load "editor.plisp")
;; Loading file editor.plisp ...
;; Loaded file editor.plisp
T
C/PLISP-USER[10]> (ed ed)

|TOP:|
(FLAMBDA & &) nx

|TOP:3|
(PROG & & & &) nx

"CANNOT GO FORWARD."
|TOP:3|
(PROG & & & &) p

(PROG (BODY) (GC NIL) (SETQ N (CAR N))
(COND ((NULL (SETQ BODY (GET N 'EXPR))) (RETURN '"NO FUNCTION DEFINITION."))
((NULL (SETQ BODY (ED-SUB BODY))) (RETURN '"EDIT ABORTED."))
(T (PUT N 'EXPR BODY))))

|TOP:3|
(PROG & & & &) exit
NIL
C/PLISP-USER[11]>


And this, using no more than a hundred lines of compatibility code.


Now, have fun, take any program 30 years old in any other language
(well you won't have much choice of the language either) and try to
run it on a current implementation.

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

Jecel

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Jun 19, 2008, 1:00:04 PM6/19/08
to
I can't get very upset about Lisp not being a serious name in an area
(Computer Science) full of names like bytes, nibbles, software,
firmware, debugger and so on.
-- Jecel

Kenny

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Jun 19, 2008, 1:42:02 PM6/19/08
to
Kent M Pitman wrote:
> Kenny <kent...@gmail.com> writes:
>
>> You seem awfully upset about the matter, it might help if you realize
>> they had no idea they had just created the perfect language and would
>> be living with the name for eternity.
>
> Perhaps exaggerated for poetic effect, but nevertheless close enough
> to the truth.

I was right? Note the date for posterity.

Actually, I imagine the precedent of Fortran carried some weight,
suggesting language names should abbreviate the main business of the
language.

kt

Ariel

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Jun 19, 2008, 3:25:47 PM6/19/08
to


On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 18:03:24 +0200


p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon) wrote:

> Ariel <n...@mail.poo> writes:
>
> > For me, the hardest thing to get past when deciding to give Lisp a
> > try was that it was so old. There is the argument that "but it's
> > still around for a reason", but I find the largest hurdle being
> > documentation weighed down by outdated content. I can never be sure
> > if what I'm reading is a best solution or even applicable for
> > problems in regards to todays capabilities/manifestation.
>
> I don't see how it's a problem. Documentation is always outdate, even
> new documentation (ie. you always have to take the documentation with
> a grain of salt).
>
> On the other hand, when you get some random code, you know you can run
> it, whenever it comes from.


My personal experience in programming has been mostly with Actionscript, from which the original version (developed by Macromedia) is completely different from Actionscript 3 now being developed by Adobe (for the most part it's not even the same language anymore). If you read a book about the original Actionscript, it will get you exactly nowhere with todays version. So I guess that gives me sort of the wrong mentality when looking at something like Lisp.

But when I wrote this post I was thinking more about things like the use of OpenGL instead of for example PHIGS to render graphics. Or being able to utilize emerging technologies like OpenCL which will be awesome.

But your post was very enlightening to me. My decision to take Lisp seriously and use it for my next project is reaffirmed. I appreciate it.

Bob Felts

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Jun 19, 2008, 3:57:12 PM6/19/08
to
Robert <irish...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Lisp is a disgraceful name, worse than useless.

JULIET:
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Kenny

unread,
Jun 19, 2008, 5:36:45 PM6/19/08
to

Lawdy how I love this NG. Otoh, the little trollop first says names do
not mean anything then says so if you will just change your name you can
have me, otherwise...and the dude went for it, ended up dead.

Girl. Death. Please note order.

So, all agreed? CL now stands for capu-let?

hth, kt

Matthias Buelow

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Jun 19, 2008, 7:56:28 PM6/19/08
to
Robert wrote:

> Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
> name of the programming language.

Complete utter bollocks. Actually, subverting the designs of markedroids
through godawful puns is an old pastime of hackers, which works out
pretty well. Just think of Unix.

> Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk and can't g-g-
> get the g-g-girl.

That's stuttering. Lithp ith the Igor thing, thur.

viper-2

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Jun 19, 2008, 7:59:09 PM6/19/08
to
On Jun 19, 5:36 pm, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Bob Felts wrote:

> > Robert <irishhac...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> >> Lisp is a disgraceful name, worse than useless.
>
> > JULIET:
> > 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
> > Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
> > What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
> > Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
> > Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
> > What's in a name? that which we call a rose
> > By any other name would smell as sweet;
> > So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
> > Retain that dear perfection which he owes
> > Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
> > And for that name which is no part of thee
> > Take all myself.
>
> Lawdy how I love this NG.

Kenny, you led the way with the poetry. We're in love with Lisp and
merely followed in your Kennyship's footsteps.

I forgot a couple of lines:

"As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came"

- Alexander Pope

Comes as we Lisp, in keystrokes bold,
Mysteries of Lambda, compiling unfold,


Code as data,
Programs writing programs,
Indestructible, transcendental - Lisp.

> So, all agreed? CL now stands for capu-let?

... And having sworn our love,
Lisp will no longer be a Capulet.

(Rewording Juliet)

--agt

;-)

Kenny

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Jun 19, 2008, 8:45:52 PM6/19/08
to
viper-2 wrote:
> On Jun 19, 5:36 pm, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Bob Felts wrote:
>>> Robert <irishhac...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Lisp is a disgraceful name, worse than useless.
>>> JULIET:
>>> 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
>>> Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
>>> What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
>>> Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
>>> Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
>>> What's in a name? that which we call a rose
>>> By any other name would smell as sweet;
>>> So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
>>> Retain that dear perfection which he owes
>>> Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
>>> And for that name which is no part of thee
>>> Take all myself.
>> Lawdy how I love this NG.
>
> Kenny, you led the way with the poetry.

I did? You mean?:

There was a young man from Devizes
Whose balls were of different sizes.
The one was so small
'Twas no ball at all,
But the other one several prizes.

I did not know that counted. Cool!

kt

Daniel Janus

unread,
Jun 20, 2008, 3:09:54 AM6/20/08
to
Dnia 19.06.2008 Kenny <kent...@gmail.com> napisał/a:

> So, all agreed? CL now stands for capu-let?

Er, that'd be a Javism. There are all sorts of *lets in that world --
applets, midlets, servlets and other whatchamacallets.

--
Daniel 'Nathell' Janus, mov...@nathell.korpus.pl, http://korpus.pl/~nathell
Microsoft Windows is to computing as the Ottoman Empire was to late
nineteenth century politics: it covers a lot of territory, but
no-one takes it seriously anymore. [Robert Uhl, comp.lang.lisp]

Oisín Mac Fhearaí

unread,
Jun 20, 2008, 6:38:20 AM6/20/08
to
On Jun 19, 8:57 pm, w...@stablecross.com (Bob Felts) wrote:
> JULIET:
>       'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
>       Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
>       What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
>       Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
>       Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
>       What's in a name? that which we call a rose
>       By any other name would smell as sweet;
>       So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
>       Retain that dear perfection which he owes
>       Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
>       And for that name which is no part of thee
>       Take all myself.

It somehow just doesn't seem right in the context of programming
languages if Juliet doesn't go on to say something like:

Thou art as good as the sum of thyself and a Lord.
Speak your mind.
Speak your mind.
Speak your mind.
Am I as good as a plum? If not, Speak your mind.

Maciek Pasternacki

unread,
Jun 20, 2008, 7:17:58 AM6/20/08
to
On Fri, 2008-06-20 at 07:09 +0000, Daniel Janus wrote:
> > So, all agreed? CL now stands for capu-let?
>
> Er, that'd be a Javism. There are all sorts of *lets in that world --
> applets, midlets, servlets and other whatchamacallets.

...FLETs, MACROLETs...

--
-><- Maciej 'japhy' Pasternacki -><- http://www.pasternacki.net/ -><-

Daniel Weinreb

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Jun 20, 2008, 8:08:17 AM6/20/08
to
Robert wrote:
> Like it or not, in marketing , the first thing that matters is the
> name of the programming language.
> Just ask the marketers at Sun, or Matz. Those were good names.
>
> Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how
> much damage he did. It was an astonishingly stupid decision, and it's
> hard to measure the damage.

Perhaps so, but there's nothing we can do about it now. There have
been languages that considered themselves conceptually to be
successors to Lisp, that were given different names, such as Dylan.
But for better or worse, we're stuck with it. I prefer to spend my
time on shortcomings that we can do something about.

Mark Wooding

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Jun 20, 2008, 1:01:21 PM6/20/08
to
Daniel Janus <przesu...@nathell.korpus.pl> wrote:
> Dnia 19.06.2008 Kenny <kent...@gmail.com> napisał/a:
>
>> So, all agreed? CL now stands for capu-let?
>
> Er, that'd be a Javism. There are all sorts of *lets in that world --
> applets, midlets, servlets and other whatchamacallets.

Oh, I expected that CAPU-LET would be some kind of fancy binding macro.

-- [mdw]

viper-2

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Jun 20, 2008, 2:34:49 PM6/20/08
to
On Jun 19, 8:45 pm, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> viper-2 wrote:
> > On Jun 19, 5:36 pm, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> Lawdy how I love this NG.
>
> > Kenny, you led the way with the poetry.
>
> I did?

Yes, you said " ... it might help if you realize they had no idea they


had just created the perfect language and would be living with the
name for eternity."

For which Pascal said thanks, and which Kent thought was poetry.

I've got law on the brain and couldn't get the metre right, but the
Cylon Oracle chanted these final 2 just now, instead of revealing
more about the final 5:

Comes as we Lisp, in keystrokes bold,
Mysteries of Lambda, compiling unfold,

Code as data, progs writing progs,
Lisp transcendental, to dialect rogues.

> There was a young man from Devizes
> Whose balls were of different sizes.
> The one was so small
> 'Twas no ball at all,
> But the other one several prizes.
>
> I did not know that counted. Cool!

No, lopsided configurations never count. ;-)

Got to run!

--agt

Kenny

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Jun 20, 2008, 3:43:03 PM6/20/08
to
viper-2 wrote:
> On Jun 19, 8:45 pm, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> viper-2 wrote:
>>> On Jun 19, 5:36 pm, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Lawdy how I love this NG.
>>> Kenny, you led the way with the poetry.
>> I did?
>
> Yes, you said " ... it might help if you realize they had no idea they
> had just created the perfect language and would be living with the
> name for eternity."
>
> For which Pascal said thanks, and which Kent thought was poetry.

Oh, that. I think Kent meant I was chewing the scenery, not giving
Shakey a run for his money. :)

kt

George Neuner

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Jun 20, 2008, 4:09:27 PM6/20/08
to
On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 10:50:11 +0200, "John Thingstad"
<jpt...@online.no> wrote:

>HELP? Highlevel Environment for List Processing
>Imagine the number of users we would get by accident!
>Gotta be the best marketing ploy ever.. ;)

Nope. Gotta get away from "list processing" - people already think
Lisp can't do anything else.

HELP - highlevel environment for lithe programming?

George
--
for email reply remove "/" from address

Kent M Pitman

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Jun 20, 2008, 6:20:08 PM6/20/08
to
Daniel Weinreb <d...@alum.mit.edu> writes:

> Robert wrote:
> > Whoever gave Lisp it's name, I don't think people realize just how

> > much damage he did. [...]
>
> [...] But for better or worse, we're stuck with it.

Indeed. Well, perhaps instead of quoting Shakespeare (though I really
enjoyed the quote Bob Felts posted from Romeo and Juliet), we should
appeal to Johnny Cash and his song "A Boy Named Sue" [1],
antepenultimate and penultimate verses (though anyone who doesn't know
the song may not understand it without just looking at or listening to
the full song through).

[1] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnnycash/aboynamedsue.html

Paul Donnelly

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Jun 20, 2008, 7:33:29 PM6/20/08
to
George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> writes:

> On Thu, 19 Jun 2008 10:50:11 +0200, "John Thingstad"
> <jpt...@online.no> wrote:
>
>>HELP? Highlevel Environment for List Processing
>>Imagine the number of users we would get by accident!
>>Gotta be the best marketing ploy ever.. ;)
>
> Nope. Gotta get away from "list processing" - people already think
> Lisp can't do anything else.
>
> HELP - highlevel environment for lithe programming?

"Lithe programming", I like that. "Dynamic" is getting a little long in
the tooth.

Kent M Pitman

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Jun 20, 2008, 11:00:30 PM6/20/08
to
Paul Donnelly <paul-d...@sbcglobal.net> writes:

> George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> writes:
...


> > Nope. Gotta get away from "list processing" - people already think
> > Lisp can't do anything else.
> >
> > HELP - highlevel environment for lithe programming?
>
> "Lithe programming", I like that. "Dynamic" is getting a little long in
> the tooth.

Yeah, good idea. Maybe you could call the language LITHEP
(for Lithe Programming language).

Mikael Jansson

unread,
Jun 21, 2008, 9:03:13 AM6/21/08
to
On Jun 19, 2:57 am, Kenny <kentil...@gmail.com> wrote:
> [snip]
> I don't know, a lisp is just a minor speech impediment, scheming can
> involve evil intent. It's like Limp vs Connive.
>
Yay! :)

--
Mikael Jansson | http://mikael.jansson.be | GPG Key 0x88986608
Limp: The Vim Lisp IDE - http://mikael.jansson.be/hacking/limp

Alan Crowe

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Jun 21, 2008, 9:07:27 AM6/21/08
to
> Makes people think of loser nerds who c-c-can't t-t-talk
> and can't g-g- get the g-g-girl.

It is hard to come up with names for programming
languages. These two attempts capture something of the
essence of Lisp.

Symbol Transformer Using Two Term Expressions Recursively

Automatic Processor for Hierarchical Aspects of Symbolic Information Analysis

Nevertheless I'm not sure that they fix the image problem.

Alan Crowe
Edinburgh
Scotland

Cor Gest

unread,
Jun 22, 2008, 4:34:13 PM6/22/08
to
The entity, AKA Alan Crowe <al...@cawtech.freeserve.co.uk> wrote :
(selectively-snipped-or-not-P)

> It is hard to come up with names for programming
> languages. These two attempts capture something of the
> essence of Lisp.
>
> Symbol Transformer Using Two Term Expressions Recursively
>
> Automatic Processor for Hierarchical Aspects of Symbolic Information Analysis
>
> Nevertheless I'm not sure that they fix the image problem.

Nah, if one can't see beyond a name, one is incompetent enough not
to use it anyway.

Cor

--
Mijn Tools zijn zo modern dat ze allemaal eindigen op 'saurus'
(defvar My-Computer '((OS . "GNU/Emacs") (IPL . "GNU/Linux")))
SPAM DELENDA EST http://osbbq.nl.linux.org
Ik ontwerp schpellvauden, ergo innoveer taal

Raymond Wiker

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Jun 22, 2008, 7:17:25 PM6/22/08
to
Cor Gest <c...@clsnet.nl> writes:

> The entity, AKA Alan Crowe <al...@cawtech.freeserve.co.uk> wrote :
> (selectively-snipped-or-not-P)
>
>> It is hard to come up with names for programming
>> languages. These two attempts capture something of the
>> essence of Lisp.
>>
>> Symbol Transformer Using Two Term Expressions Recursively
>>
>> Automatic Processor for Hierarchical Aspects of Symbolic Information Analysis
>>
>> Nevertheless I'm not sure that they fix the image problem.
>
> Nah, if one can't see beyond a name, one is incompetent enough not
> to use it anyway.

I take it that you did not try to figure out how Alan's
"suggestions" might get abbreviated :-)

Pertti Kellomäki

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Jun 23, 2008, 3:13:18 AM6/23/08
to
George Neuner wrote:
> HELP - highlevel environment for lithe programming?

<http://www.physics.uwo.ca/~harwood/humor10.html>:

THE LESSER-KNOWN PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES #12 -- LITHP
This otherwise unremarkable language is distinguished by the absence of
an "S" in its character set; users must substitute "TH". LITHP is said
to be useful in protheththing lithtth.
--
Pertti

Cor Gest

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Jun 23, 2008, 11:06:34 AM6/23/08
to

The entity, AKA Raymond Wiker <r...@RawMBP.local> wrote :
(selectively-snipped-or-not-P)


>> Nah, if one can't see beyond a name, one is incompetent enough not
>> to use it anyway.
>
> I take it that you did not try to figure out how Alan's
> "suggestions" might get abbreviated :-)

Do not give a punchline away ... ;-)

But my advice to marketoids :
Never try to communicate anything to me, just say wat you want,
it saves time, keeps me Cool and my coffee Hot.

Daniel Weinreb

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Jun 26, 2008, 7:08:04 AM6/26/08
to
It's too late to do anything about it now, even if we stipuate
that you're right. If we want to make Common Lisp catch on,
let's focus on things we can really do. Rebranding it would
not be a good idea.

Rob Warnock

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Jun 26, 2008, 9:20:17 PM6/26/08
to
Daniel Weinreb <d...@alum.mit.edu> wrote:
+---------------
+---------------

I concur. One thing that *might* help a little, though, is to
avoid to the extent possible the bare name "Lisp" (except when
specifically discussing the historical context) and try to
use "Common Lisp" or "CL" exclusively. That, and hammer on the
ANSI name a bit. This might(?) help the "old, dead" myth some:

Q: "Isn't Lisp that old, slow interpreted thingy?"

A: "Oh, no, this is ANSI-standard Common Lisp,
the fast, *compiled* language!"

[Yes, yes, I know almost all early Lisps were compiled...]


-Rob

-----
Rob Warnock <rp...@rpw3.org>
627 26th Avenue <URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403 (650)572-2607

Kent M Pitman

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Jun 26, 2008, 11:34:14 PM6/26/08
to
rp...@rpw3.org (Rob Warnock) writes:

> ... hammer on the ANSI name a bit. This might(?) help the "old, dead"


> myth some:
>
> Q: "Isn't Lisp that old, slow interpreted thingy?"
>
> A: "Oh, no, this is ANSI-standard Common Lisp,
> the fast, *compiled* language!"
>
> [Yes, yes, I know almost all early Lisps were compiled...]

Well indeed. Lisp has had a compiler going all the way back.
Consider:
http://www.softwarepreservation.org/projects/LISP/book/LISP%201.5%20Programmers%20Manual.pdf
which is a pretty early reference and even then addresses compilation.

And also, sad to say, some people have also bought into the myth (that
ANSI subtly encourages, through its renewal policies) that if you
haven't recently paid a bunch of dues and sent a team of people to
expensive meetings in order to randomly perturb your language
definition, your language isn't current... ANSI churns their monetary
base every 5 years, I think it is, by making the standard want some
form of reaffirmation as if it being stable were the worst thing in
the world. So some people take a failure of the community to have
rushed to spend money on ongoing ANSI committees as a negative rather
than a positive.

But the real reason they reach for this "evidence" of Lisp's
unsuitability, I think, has nothing to do with the date of the
standard. That's just smokescreen that's easy to reach for, but if
you didn't have it, they'd reach for something else. In the end, I
suspect it's a bit like Bush saying that he's worried about pulling
out of the Expensive War because it will play into the terrorist party
line. (In effect, Bush's claim amounts to: The terrorists have
nothing to say to their recruits right now that would agitate them,
and are strictl scrupulous about observing the precise truth, so if we
don't withdraw, they'll just be unable to come up with anything
negative to say, and if we do, they'll have actual undisputed fact to
point to that will be hugely compelling.) The truth is that when
people don't like you, and are determined not to like you, they often
don't do it based on fact, and they often don't care what is being
said or not, they're just going to use what's at hand. So you can't
make your decisions on the basis of what they're going to do, because
they're going to do it regardless of what you do.

Lisp is disliked and dismissed for reasons that are effectively
irrational. No amount of cleverly framed rationality is going to fix
that because the error isn't that someone is confused by actual
rationality into saying what they're trying to say--they're just not
looking at the data, and still won't be after you do the kinds of
contortions you're suggesting. It's just an exercise in needless
futility to try to make them happy.

So maybe just bypass all the marketing and be more direct...

Q: "Isn't Lisp that old, slow interpreted thingy?"

A: Uh, that alleged factoid was a myth even years ago when you
probably picked it up and has been debunked many times since.
Google "Lisp slow".

(I guess that gets a little more personal than I'd typically recommend
for debate. But, gee, when it's the 10,000th time you've had to
confront this tiresome idiocy and you're stuck feeling weak and want
to just blurt something out that's both spontaneous and bluntly
to-the-point, at least it's nice to know you've got Google watching your
back -- if not just about everything else you do.)

Alternatively, you could go for the at least slightly more subtle ...

A: Well, at least Lisp can represent integers that are bigger than
16 bits. Oh wait--you mean something has changed about C in the
last few decades that I'm required to know about it or look
uneducated? Funny that, because now that you mention it, there's
this thing about Lisp I wanted to mention and that you might want
to know...

Matthias Buelow

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Jun 29, 2008, 9:00:34 AM6/29/08
to
Kent M Pitman wrote:


> (I guess that gets a little more personal than I'd typically recommend
> for debate. But, gee, when it's the 10,000th time you've had to
> confront this tiresome idiocy and you're stuck feeling weak and want
> to just blurt something out that's both spontaneous and bluntly
> to-the-point,

From my experience, it's more that Lisp (if the name is recognized at
all) has a connotation of some old, theoretical, academic thing similar
to Forth or Prolog and people don't think it's a "real" programming
language that has any relevance to practical programming. Execution
speed doesn't even come into this until probably much later in the
discussion (and no, you can't sell something to people who don't want
it, even if you have the best arguments...)

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