Are we close to a Lisp boom ?

33 views
Skip to first unread message

Spiros Bousbouras

unread,
May 3, 2008, 10:34:44 AM5/3/08
to
If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.

Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?

Peter Hildebrandt

unread,
May 3, 2008, 12:21:34 PM5/3/08
to
On Sat, 03 May 2008 16:34:44 +0200, Spiros Bousbouras <spi...@gmail.com>
wrote:

I thought about the same question a few days ago when I read an article
about groovy [1], which adds a few lispy features to java. The thing to
think about is, of course, what do we mean by "Lisp boom"? Who are we
speaking about?

(1) The general public (use by hobby programmers, for scripting,
mentioning in blogs, boards, magazines)
(2) Start ups (people use lisp to start a business)
(3) Major corporations (companies using lisp for production software
products, eg. ITA)

(1-2) are of interest, major corporations tend let smaller players figure
out new technology before they adopt them. (2) generally follows from
(1): People use experience gained in hobby and OSS programming to found
their business. So we look at (1) in more detail:

I believe the barrier to entry is too high here, and I think the major
reason is that the lisp world is so pluralistic: Which implementation do
I use? Which IDE? Which libraries? Where do I get what?
(Unfortunately) people expect there to be one way to do things, i.e. they
expect to go to lisp.org, "click here to download", double-click the
installer, select "example-1" and first launch, click "run", and look at
their first own weblog :-)

As a newcomer (I remember!) lisp is quite confusing: which implementation
to use? Where to download? Where is a good discussion board? What are
the libraries? (Obviously I figured it out, but it took me two weeks or
so. I was set up with Java/Eclipse in 15 minutes). I hear you guys cry
out: "But there is implementation X that does A and implementation Y that
does B and C. Choice is what is great about lisp!". I know. Now go and
reread this paragraph.

In conclusion, I believe that the lisp boom won't come before there is a
canonic open source implementation and a canonic repository for
libraries. I believe all the material is there: SBCL would make a great
basis, Eclipse/Cusp a newbie-friendly IDE (which already comes with a few
libs), we have a number of great libraries, and the wholes (currently I
see Ajax/web app and GUI) will hopefully be filled soon.

Now the question is, of course, whether this is what we want. After
reading c.l.l for a year, I'd say: no. There won't be sufficient
community support for a "one corrent solution" approach, so lisp will stay
pluralistic and confusing. On the other had, those who make it through
the first two months or so are rewarded with a great system. And, I
think, among those that have the endurance, a lisp boom has already
begun. But it won't be the ruby-on-rails kind of boom.

Peter

[1] http://groovy.codehaus.org/


--
Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

Rainer Joswig

unread,
May 3, 2008, 1:33:31 PM5/3/08
to
In article
<163e1d2b-f338-45ab...@c58g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>,
Spiros Bousbouras <spi...@gmail.com> wrote:

I don't think we will see a Lisp 'boom'. But I think
the slow, but steady growth will continue in the
next years. Plus, some people might be bored with their
current programming tools (it is a fashion industry) and will
look for new ways to do the same as before and write
about it. I hope we won't see too many of those...

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

Rainer Joswig

unread,
May 3, 2008, 1:40:24 PM5/3/08
to
In article <op.uak6d8s5x6i8pv@babyfoot>,
"Peter Hildebrandt" <peter.hi...@gmail.com> wrote:

...

> In conclusion, I believe that the lisp boom won't come before there is a
> canonic open source implementation and a canonic repository for
> libraries. I believe all the material is there: SBCL would make a great
> basis, Eclipse/Cusp a newbie-friendly IDE (which already comes with a few
> libs), we have a number of great libraries, and the wholes (currently I
> see Ajax/web app and GUI) will hopefully be filled soon.
>
> Now the question is, of course, whether this is what we want. After
> reading c.l.l for a year, I'd say: no. There won't be sufficient
> community support for a "one corrent solution" approach, so lisp will stay
> pluralistic and confusing. On the other had, those who make it through
> the first two months or so are rewarded with a great system. And, I
> think, among those that have the endurance, a lisp boom has already
> begun. But it won't be the ruby-on-rails kind of boom.

I have already seen one Lisp boom (80s) - mostly fueled by US
military spending. Personally I'd like to see a more civilian approach
which is also sustainable over a longer period of time.
That first Lisp boom ended abruptly and left a huge crater.
I'm also pro-choice and for competition - I don't like
a monoculture. ;-)

>
> Peter
>
> [1] http://groovy.codehaus.org/

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

Ken Tilton

unread,
May 3, 2008, 2:30:36 PM5/3/08
to

Peter Hildebrandt wrote:
> On Sat, 03 May 2008 16:34:44 +0200, Spiros Bousbouras
> <spi...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
>> fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
>> more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.
>> Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
>> you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?
>
>
> I thought about the same question a few days ago when I read an article
> about groovy [1], which adds a few lispy features to java. The thing
> to think about is, of course, what do we mean by "Lisp boom"? Who are
> we speaking about?

And define "close". :)

Also, can we count Java (gc at least, and anonymous classes
(pwuahahaha)) and Python (interactive and crappy GC at least) and Ruby
(dynamic and blocks at least) and Groovy as being part of the Lisp boom?
Because in the end it is the ideas that matter (and have already
boomed), the rest will follow.

What I see happening is India or China discovering CL specifically and
standardizing on it (er, informally) and crushing the West. Man, that
would be funny, but not surprising. Demming was ignored by Detroit but
listened to by Japan, who then kicked Detroit's ass precisely with
Demming's ideas.

The good news is my passport is good for ten years now thanx to ECLM.

Meanwhile, I think OpenAIR could do for CL (and Cells) what Rails did
for Ruby. Hopefully Andy is making progress.

And watch out for my Algebra app. Early results indicate it works
surprisingly well with unhappy Algebra students, and Algebra has become
the line in the sand for math education in the US. If we get another
success story (here or with ITA) look out. If you thought Paul Graham
made a lot of noise, you haven't been clicking thru my sig.

Given OpenLaszlo, FlapJax, Trellis, and Adobe Adam all doing Cells
without Lisp, to me the fun question is who will win first, Cells or Lisp.

kt

--
http://smuglispweeny.blogspot.com/
http://www.theoryyalgebra.com/
ECLM rant:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1331906677993764413&hl=en
ECLM talk:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9173722505157942928&q=&hl=en

Zach Beane

unread,
May 3, 2008, 5:45:20 PM5/3/08
to
Spiros Bousbouras <spi...@gmail.com> writes:

It seems like there are more meetings lately. I've been trying to keep
track with a Google calendar here:

http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=pm55j8kg30dnm54ib2if9fuocc%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America%2FNew_York&gsessionid=zEmztQw37sRlk7nv-CRssw

Just in May there are ten Lisp-oriented meetings or events. That's
pretty cool.

Zach

vanekl

unread,
May 3, 2008, 11:01:42 PM5/3/08
to

IMO, not until CL goes through another standardization process,
not for the language this time, but for a few libraries:
comm, stream, unicode, thread.

Too bad there isn't a benevolent angel that could fund such
an expenditure <hint>PG</hint>.

scholz...@gmail.com

unread,
May 3, 2008, 11:08:43 PM5/3/08
to

Without Unicode support, Windows Ports, true Multithreading i think
definietly not.

Ken Tilton

unread,
May 3, 2008, 11:57:05 PM5/3/08
to

vanekl wrote:
> Spiros Bousbouras wrote:
>
>> If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
>> fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
>> more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.
>>
>> Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
>> you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?
>
>
> IMO, not until CL goes through another standardization process,
> not for the language this time, but for a few libraries:
> comm, stream, unicode, thread.

Yeah, the damn thing is unusable as it is.

>
> Too bad there isn't a benevolent angel that could fund such
> an expenditure <hint>PG</hint>.

Nah, he went broke trying to do a start-up with CL, a Web store I think.

vanekl

unread,
May 4, 2008, 12:24:23 AM5/4/08
to
Ken Tilton wrote:
>
>
> vanekl wrote:
>> Spiros Bousbouras wrote:
>>
>>> If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
>>> fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
>>> more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.
>>>
>>> Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
>>> you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?
>>
>>
>> IMO, not until CL goes through another standardization process,
>> not for the language this time, but for a few libraries:
>> comm, stream, unicode, thread.
>
> Yeah, the damn thing is unusable as it is.

unusable? needlessly inconvenient would be a better choice of words,
methinks. Python has its advantages; ignoring them is... never mind.

>>
>> Too bad there isn't a benevolent angel that could fund such
>> an expenditure <hint>PG</hint>.
>
> Nah, he went broke trying to do a start-up with CL, a Web store I think.

Time to put the cork back in the bottle. The bar is closed. Make sure
you tip your waitress on the way out. Thank you and drive safely.

> kt
>

globalrev

unread,
May 4, 2008, 7:34:26 AM5/4/08
to

dont know if u misunderstood or not but he is referring to Paul Graham
that
started Viaweb in 1995 which was sold to Yahoo for around 50million
dollars in 1998.
Graham is now working on Arc, a Lisp-dialect.

http://www.paulgraham.com/
http://arclanguage.org/

Ken Tilton

unread,
May 4, 2008, 9:43:55 AM5/4/08
to

He understood, he just could not handle having pointed out to him the
delightful irony of asking for money to help make Lisp usable from
someone who got rich USING Lisp thirteen years ago.

But what should we expect from someone who says "You've had too much to
drink, drive safely."?

:)

kenny

Majorinc Kazimir

unread,
May 4, 2008, 9:44:43 AM5/4/08
to

I do not think so. Lisp is significantly harder to learn than,
say, Ruby or Lua, and it provides less advantages to average
programmer than ever.

vanekl

unread,
May 4, 2008, 11:04:02 AM5/4/08
to

Gawd, next time I'll wink and add 10 smiley faces so the slower members
of the group can catch up.

philip....@gmail.com

unread,
May 4, 2008, 11:45:53 AM5/4/08
to

If you'd said "beginner programmer" then I'd agree that there are
probably easier ways to learn programming than Common Lisp although
even this is partly due to the confusion over what to download rather
than a fault of the language itself. As for "average programmer", it's
less clear what that means. If it means programmers who are not
sufficiently interested in using more powerful programming tools then
I think it's hard to make the argument that Lisp should be dumbed down
for them. As you point out, there are other languages which excel in
this area.

--
Phil
http://phil.nullable.eu/

John Thingstad

unread,
May 4, 2008, 1:09:58 PM5/4/08
to

Of course my LispWorks system supports all of the above..
It does not do 'symmetric' multiprocessing if that is what you mean.
I might add that none of these things are a part of the C standard either.
That hasn't prevented C from being a popular language.
Common Lisp is just a common denominator for Lisp's. Commercial versions
like LispWorks and ACL come with large libraries in addition to ANSI
Common Lisp.
As it is - it is strong enough to write real applications today.

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

Ken Tilton

unread,
May 4, 2008, 1:16:11 PM5/4/08
to

Oh. I see. Yeah, your overall drift did elude me.

Anyway, I see elsewhere you will be in the vanguard of CL's drive to
world domination contributing to (some) Grand Unifying Lisp Web Thingy,
so send along a bit of your clothing and we'll train the hounds on you
as a "friendly".

MarkHa...@gmail.com

unread,
May 4, 2008, 1:21:47 PM5/4/08
to

Joost Diepenmaat

unread,
May 4, 2008, 2:38:58 PM5/4/08
to
philip....@gmail.com writes:

Agreed. I'm also not convinced that Ruby and Lua are a big step
towards closing the gap to good Common Lisp implementations -
especially in the performance area CL kicks ass, and Ruby for example
is mostly "just" a cleaned-up Perl (and Perl also kicks Ruby's ass in
performance). And I am apparently one of the few people here who think
Ruby is quite pretty and likes Perl.

Besides, *fuck* the average programmer. Average programmers should be
in middle management where they can't mess up the code base (much).

--
Joost Diepenmaat | blog: http://joost.zeekat.nl/ | work: http://zeekat.nl/

Ken Tilton

unread,
May 4, 2008, 2:59:08 PM5/4/08
to

Hunh? This must be my second misconstrual in as many days -- I just
forecasted good things for commercial Lisps.

Corrollary: I do not think Franz went to Japan by mistake.[1]

But whatever you meant, you are right: they know better than I ever will
how well Lisp is doing. My only gauge is this NG... omigod! I have
become an optimist! They may not let me back into NYC. :(

kenny

[1] http://lemonodor.com/archives/001445.html

--
http://smuglispweeny.blogspot.com/

Majorinc Kazimir

unread,
May 4, 2008, 3:01:41 PM5/4/08
to
In article <daadad58-b292-4a26-a63f-35ec24af3450
@k13g2000hse.googlegroups.com>, philip....@gmail.com
says...

> than a fault of the language itself. As for "average programmer", it's
> less clear what that means. If it means programmers who are not

Average programmer is say, one who mostly rely on available
libraries and only occasionally implement complex algorithms on
his own. His programs might be large but they are mostly made
of simple pieces that need to be connected together without
bugs. I think abstract programming languages provide little
advantage for that kind of job; their advantages show mainly if
one has to develop and test many original and complicated
algorithms - and needs for that decrease due to growing
libraries, databases etc.

It is not fault of the programming language.

Majorinc Kazimir

unread,
May 4, 2008, 3:19:18 PM5/4/08
to
In article <87r6chg...@zeekat.nl>, jo...@zeekat.nl says...

> Besides, *fuck* the average programmer.

Oh my god! Average programmer is of a wrong sex, and even then
he is overweighted with fat glasses. I'd rather go back to C++!


pls....@gmail.com

unread,
May 4, 2008, 3:25:07 PM5/4/08
to
On 4 Mag, 05:08, scholz.lot...@gmail.com wrote:
> Without Unicode support, Windows Ports, true Multithreading i think
> definietly not.

Gimme everything. And free. And now. And without my contribution.

Does this work anywhere in your personal life?

-PM

Joost Diepenmaat

unread,
May 4, 2008, 3:30:35 PM5/4/08
to
Majorinc Kazimir <fa...@false.false> writes:

Hahaha. Anyway, I don't mind average programmers. As long as they know
what they're doing and stay the hell out of my code (unless I'm the
boss and can tell them how to get better, and fire them if they don't
- I'm not arrogant about much, but I trust my programming instincts).

John Thingstad

unread,
May 4, 2008, 6:54:17 PM5/4/08
to
På Sun, 04 May 2008 20:38:58 +0200, skrev Joost Diepenmaat
<jo...@zeekat.nl>:

>
> Besides, *fuck* the average programmer. Average programmers should be
> in middle management where they can't mess up the code base (much).
>

Just like 80% of the population think they drive better than average there
are very few *average* programmers out there :)

Let's call it John's buffoon law..

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

Pertti Kellomäki

unread,
May 5, 2008, 3:18:11 AM5/5/08
to

It does seem to work all right if one is using Python.

There is lots of stuff out there for which it does not really
matter whether one is using CL, Python, Ruby, or any other half-sane
language. In that situation, the language where you can just
say "import X" for stuff like regexps, HTTP, HTML etc. is going
to win. And for good reason, I might add.
--
Pertti

John Thingstad

unread,
May 5, 2008, 4:59:06 AM5/5/08
to
På Mon, 05 May 2008 09:18:11 +0200, skrev Pertti Kellomäki
<pertti.k...@tut.fi>:

I see thee approaches here.

Indeed if all you do is call library code, who cares how fast the language
is?
After all the library is doing all the work anyhow.
Of course there are cases where Python, Ruby etc are just to slow like
when implementing non trivial algorithms of your own. So you need a
library for everything. (Web designers like this way.)

If you don't have a library you you are left with implementing it in C or
simular. LUA works on this principle. Do the speed critical stuff in
C/C++. Do the glue code in LUA. (Computer games people like this way.)

CL is just another alternative. It allows you to customize the language to
fit the problem and COMPILE it.
Particularly handy if the problem you want to solve isn't that trivial in
the first place.
(Expert systems, CAD/CIM, Gene mapping perhaps)

No CL isn't Ruby and might not attract the same people. Personally I am
fine with that.

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

globalrev

unread,
May 5, 2008, 10:12:28 AM5/5/08
to

lol so true.


even norwegians say clever stuff sometimes ;) (swedish)

mabr...@gmail.com

unread,
May 5, 2008, 1:27:00 PM5/5/08
to
Nothing in Washington, DC, as usual.

Zach Beane

unread,
May 5, 2008, 1:29:40 PM5/5/08
to
"mabr...@gmail.com" <mabr...@gmail.com> writes:

> Nothing in Washington, DC, as usual.

Actually, FringeDC meets on May 10th, but I forgot to add it to my
calendar.

http://www.lisperati.com/fringedc.html has more info.

Zach

pls....@gmail.com

unread,
May 5, 2008, 4:38:10 PM5/5/08
to
On 5 Mag, 09:18, Pertti Kellomäki <pertti.kellom...@tut.fi> wrote:
> > Gimme everything. And free. And now. And without my contribution.
> > Does this work anywhere in your personal life?
>
> It does seem to work all right if one is using Python.

Wow, I didn't know that Python does have this kind of bad educational
attitude...

;)

-PM

David Formosa (aka ? the Platypus)

unread,
May 5, 2008, 5:11:25 PM5/5/08
to
On Sun, 04 May 2008 19:09:58 +0200, John Thingstad <jpt...@online.no> wrote:
> På Sun, 04 May 2008 05:08:43 +0200, skrev <scholz...@gmail.com>:
[...]

>> Without Unicode support, Windows Ports, true Multithreading i think
>> definietly not.
>
> Of course my LispWorks system supports all of the above..
> It does not do 'symmetric' multiprocessing if that is what you mean.
> I might add that none of these things are a part of the C standard either.
> That hasn't prevented C from being a popular language.

However the libraries to do thouse things have been standardized.

> Common Lisp is just a common denominator for Lisp's. Commercial versions
> like LispWorks and ACL come with large libraries in addition to ANSI
> Common Lisp.

Thats the problem. I'm no longer writing CL, I'm writing a dialect of
CL that is dependent on the success or otherwise of my vender.

Edi Weitz

unread,
May 5, 2008, 5:15:34 PM5/5/08
to
On Sun, 04 May 2008 19:09:58 +0200, "John Thingstad" <jpt...@online.no> wrote:

> Of course my LispWorks system supports all of the above.. It does
> not do 'symmetric' multiprocessing if that is what you mean.

The next version will do. Dave Fox made an announcement at the ECLM
asking people interested in beta-testing this to contact LispWorks.

Edi.

--

Lisp is not dead, it just smells funny.

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

Edi Weitz

unread,
May 5, 2008, 5:16:12 PM5/5/08
to
On Mon, 05 May 2008 21:11:25 GMT, "David Formosa (aka ? the Platypus)" <dfor...@usyd.edu.au> wrote:

> I'm no longer writing CL, I'm writing a dialect of CL that is
> dependent on the success or otherwise of my vender.

How is that different from C/C++?

EL

unread,
May 5, 2008, 6:05:54 PM5/5/08
to
Spiros Bousbouras schrieb:

> If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
> fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
> more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.
>
> Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
> you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?

At least you guys made it on rank 16 in this <ironic>very
meaningful</ironic> index here:
http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html

And in the "cleaned up" list here on rank 11:
http://cdsmith.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/is-tiobe-fatally-flawed/

Not bad, eh ;-)?

--
Eckhard

Ken Tilton

unread,
May 5, 2008, 9:25:52 PM5/5/08
to

Lock-in is a gray-scale, If you cannot switch from ODB to RDB in a
heavily-caffeinated long weekend we need you extinct.

hth, kenny

Pascal J. Bourguignon

unread,
May 6, 2008, 3:17:44 AM5/6/08
to
"David Formosa (aka ? the Platypus)" <dfor...@usyd.edu.au> writes:

> On Sun, 04 May 2008 19:09:58 +0200, John Thingstad <jpt...@online.no> wrote:
>> På Sun, 04 May 2008 05:08:43 +0200, skrev <scholz...@gmail.com>:
> [...]
>>> Without Unicode support, Windows Ports, true Multithreading i think
>>> definietly not.
>>
>> Of course my LispWorks system supports all of the above..
>> It does not do 'symmetric' multiprocessing if that is what you mean.
>> I might add that none of these things are a part of the C standard either.
>> That hasn't prevented C from being a popular language.
>

> However the libraries to do those things have been standardized.

This is false.

There are some standards, but you have to considerably restrict your
targets to be able to use them.

Even on a single platform like Linux, you've got to choose between
three different API to do multi-threading, for example. And let's not
talk about GUI API!

And while you have some level of POSIX support in linux, unix, macosx
(mach kernel), MS-Windows, BeOS, Haiku, QNX, etc, it is the most
basic common denominator API you can get.


>> Common Lisp is just a common denominator for Lisp's. Commercial versions
>> like LispWorks and ACL come with large libraries in addition to ANSI
>> Common Lisp.
>
> Thats the problem. I'm no longer writing CL, I'm writing a dialect of
> CL that is dependent on the success or otherwise of my vender.

Or you can choose to use libraries that offer some platform
independence, but life won't be easy sometimes.

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

Duane Rettig

unread,
May 6, 2008, 4:08:11 AM5/6/08
to
EL <eckhar...@gmx.de> writes:

Notice he had to re-split the Lisp and Scheme categories, in order to
make his list believable - would anyone have accepted a list like that
where Lisp/Scheme ranked in positions close to Fortran and C?

:-)

--
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

Pascal J. Bourguignon

unread,
May 6, 2008, 4:41:04 AM5/6/08
to
Duane Rettig <du...@franz.com> writes:

> EL <eckhar...@gmx.de> writes:
>
>> Spiros Bousbouras schrieb:
>>> If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
>>> fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
>>> more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.
>>> Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
>>> you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?
>>
>> At least you guys made it on rank 16 in this <ironic>very
>> meaningful</ironic> index here:
>> http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html
>>
>> And in the "cleaned up" list here on rank 11:
>> http://cdsmith.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/is-tiobe-fatally-flawed/
>>
>> Not bad, eh ;-)?
>
> Notice he had to re-split the Lisp and Scheme categories, in order to
> make his list believable - would anyone have accepted a list like that
> where Lisp/Scheme ranked in positions close to Fortran and C?
>
> :-)

And I notice a CL in 27th position too. If we added Lisp+Scheme+CL,
the sky's the limit! Actually the first position, but good enough :-)

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

EL

unread,
May 6, 2008, 7:28:39 AM5/6/08
to
Pascal J. Bourguignon schrieb:

>> Notice he had to re-split the Lisp and Scheme categories, in order to
>> make his list believable - would anyone have accepted a list like that
>> where Lisp/Scheme ranked in positions close to Fortran and C?
>>
>> :-)
>
> And I notice a CL in 27th position too. If we added Lisp+Scheme+CL,
> the sky's the limit! Actually the first position, but good enough :-)
>

Zynically: I thought that Lisp programmers don't need to google that
much for their tools, in order to get something done. Contrahery to the
Java/Python crowd...
So it must really be the interest of newbies that we see here ;-).


--
Eckhard

Robert Uhl

unread,
May 6, 2008, 11:39:09 AM5/6/08
to
Ken Tilton <kenny...@optonline.net> writes:
>
>> IMO, not until CL goes through another standardization process, not
>> for the language this time, but for a few libraries: comm, stream,
>> unicode, thread.
>
> Yeah, the damn thing is unusable as it is.

It's not that it's unusable (that's clearly false, as every project
written in CL clearly demonstrates); it's that it's less usable than
would otherwise be the case. It's not an issue of black-and-white: it's
an issue of lighter vs. darker grey. There was a time when CLOS was not
standardised; as The Art of the Metaobject Protocol demonstrates, it
could always be rolled by hand. Surely you agree that a single
standardised CLOS is better than a dozen similar-but-incompatible OOP
libraries? In the same way, standardising libraries would be useful.

The existing pretty-much-similar sockets libraries should be
standardised. Gray Streams should be standard. Unicode should be the
new standard, with clearly-defined migration paths for legacy encodings
(I'm not up on my Unicode specs--perhaps there are some suggestions
already there). Threading and multi-processing should be standardised.

Something interesting would be standard message-passing based on the
Erlang model. I don't know if there's any agreement that the Erlisp
model is the right way to do this though. It would be nice for CL to be
as far ahead of the curve again as it once was. Garbage collection and
closures are pretty common now; optional and keyword arguments are not
unknown (c.f. Python); macros are at a tipping point (people realise
they need them, and are trying to figure out how to get them in
irregular languages); CLOS-style generic functions are in a similar
position; conditions still haven't caught on; I think that integrating
some of Erlang's features might be a way to do for multiprocessing what
CLOS did for OOP.


>> Too bad there isn't a benevolent angel that could fund such
>> an expenditure <hint>PG</hint>.
>
> Nah, he went broke trying to do a start-up with CL, a Web store I think.

PG's too busy reinventing the wheel with Arc to do anything for CL.

--
Robert Uhl <http://public.xdi.org/=ruhl>
People who do technical support for a living are bitter, twisted and
uncharitable. Eight hours a day of telling people what's already in the
manual [...] results in a steady and inexorable progression towards a
state of depressive sociopathy. --dansdata.com

Robert Uhl

unread,
May 6, 2008, 11:43:16 AM5/6/08
to
Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de> writes:
>
>> I'm no longer writing CL, I'm writing a dialect of CL that is
>> dependent on the success or otherwise of my vender.
>
> How is that different from C/C++?

With standard C plus standard POSIX, you're pretty much certain that
your app will run anywhere important. You're not certain that it'll run
fast or particularly well, and of course there are those edge cases that
need to be taken care of--but my perception is that C+POSIX is much more
reliable a platform than Common Lisp.

It's also much more low-level and much more prone to segfaults and
security holes. At the moment I'd rather program in non-portable CL
than in portable C, but that's me.

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and
murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit
suicide. --John Adams, 1814

Duane Rettig

unread,
May 6, 2008, 11:43:42 AM5/6/08
to
p...@informatimago.com (Pascal J. Bourguignon) writes:

> Duane Rettig <du...@franz.com> writes:
>
>> EL <eckhar...@gmx.de> writes:
>>
>>> Spiros Bousbouras schrieb:
>>>> If it's true that as we progress in time, successive
>>>> fashionable languages resemble Lisp more and
>>>> more then Lisp's turn should come at some point.
>>>> Do you agree with this argument ? If yes, would
>>>> you say we're close to a Lisp boom ?
>>>
>>> At least you guys made it on rank 16 in this <ironic>very
>>> meaningful</ironic> index here:
>>> http://www.tiobe.com/index.php/content/paperinfo/tpci/index.html
>>>
>>> And in the "cleaned up" list here on rank 11:
>>> http://cdsmith.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/is-tiobe-fatally-flawed/
>>>
>>> Not bad, eh ;-)?
>>
>> Notice he had to re-split the Lisp and Scheme categories, in order to
>> make his list believable - would anyone have accepted a list like that
>> where Lisp/Scheme ranked in positions close to Fortran and C?
>>
>> :-)
>
> And I notice a CL in 27th position too.

Ah, you're talking about the Tiobe site. I was talking about the
"cleaned up" list, which currently places Scheme at #12 and Lisp at #13.
I was the one that originally suggested to the tiobe people that they
combine Lisp and Scheme.

> If we added Lisp+Scheme+CL,
> the sky's the limit! Actually the first position, but good enough :-)

As far as I know, CL is actually included in that mix for the Tiobe
data. It's hard, though, to infer contextually that a particular
instance of "CL" stands for Common Lisp. I read at one point how they
get their data, and that's what led me to make the suggestion to
combine.

I personally place very little faith in numeric measurements like
tiobe's list and LOC measurements, mostly because they can be abused
by both sides of an argument. But for what they're worth (i.e. an
interesting number) they are numbers, and they make possible a narrow
comparison that wouldn't be otherwise available. But take or leave
the list; the guy who wrote the "cleaned up" list (which he apparently
now retracts becase he's seen the light about taking any list too
seriously, including his) was obviously incensed that his own pet
language, Haskell, was rated less popular than APL (which nobody has a
keyboard for anyway :-). Everyone is going to find reasons to hate
the list, and it should be a lesson to those who ask for "proof" that
Lisp is better than something else; it's not going to happen, because
in deconstructing the meaning of the word proof one finds that there
needs to be an observer to the proof/test, and such observation is
always going to be subjective.

Robert Uhl

unread,
May 6, 2008, 11:47:40 AM5/6/08
to
Pertti Kellomäki <pertti.k...@tut.fi> writes:
>
> There is lots of stuff out there for which it does not really matter
> whether one is using CL, Python, Ruby, or any other half-sane
> language. In that situation, the language where you can just say
> "import X" for stuff like regexps, HTTP, HTML etc. is going to
> win. And for good reason, I might add.

Yes. Fortunately, for the important Lisps one just goes to weitz.de and
grabs CL-PPCRE (faster Perl-compatible regexps than Perl!) and
Hunchentoot. HTML generation is another issue, although I'm partial to
CL-WHO (also from Dr. Weitz). For a good portion of the '&c.' weitz.de
is your one-stop shop...

Customs officers enter into a Faustian bargain whereby they are given
absolute power in exchange for their sense of humour. Hitler's dad, you
will remember noddingly, was a Customs officer. And _Hitler_ thought he
was a nasty piece of work. --Mil Millington

Edi Weitz

unread,
May 6, 2008, 11:51:53 AM5/6/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 09:43:16 -0600, Robert Uhl <eadm...@NOSPAMgmail.com> wrote:

> With standard C plus standard POSIX, you're pretty much certain that
> your app will run anywhere important.

How many useful and/or successful Windows apps have been written in
pure standard C plus standard POSIX?

plamen...@gmail.com

unread,
May 6, 2008, 12:13:21 PM5/6/08
to
On May 3, 8:30 pm, Ken Tilton <kennytil...@optonline.net> wrote:

>
> What I see happening is India or China discovering CL specifically and
> standardizing on it (er, informally) and crushing the West. Man, that
> would be funny, but not surprising.

Kenny, if one knows the history, then he knows the future...

http://home.pipeline.com/~hbaker1/sigplannotices/gigo-1997-04.html

Have fun :)

Plamen Stamov

P.S. And for newbies - read better the rest of the Baker's articles.

George Neuner

unread,
May 6, 2008, 12:20:29 PM5/6/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 11:51:53 -0400, Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de>
wrote:

>On Tue, 06 May 2008 09:43:16 -0600, Robert Uhl <eadm...@NOSPAMgmail.com> wrote:
>
>> With standard C plus standard POSIX, you're pretty much certain that
>> your app will run anywhere important.
>
>How many useful and/or successful Windows apps have been written in
>pure standard C plus standard POSIX?

Zero ... it can't be done. Windows itself abuses portability. The
code between the GUI glue can be portable but the whole cannot be.

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

Slobodan Blazeski

unread,
May 6, 2008, 12:36:23 PM5/6/08
to
On May 6, 5:43 pm, Duane Rettig <du...@franz.com> wrote:
> I was the one that originally suggested to the tiobe people that they
> combine Lisp and Scheme.

You're only sin in all those years I'm reading this group.

Pascal J. Bourguignon

unread,
May 6, 2008, 12:53:32 PM5/6/08
to
Robert Uhl <eadm...@NOSPAMgmail.com> writes:

> Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de> writes:
>>
>>> I'm no longer writing CL, I'm writing a dialect of CL that is
>>> dependent on the success or otherwise of my vender.
>>
>> How is that different from C/C++?
>
> With standard C plus standard POSIX, you're pretty much certain that
> your app will run anywhere important. You're not certain that it'll run
> fast or particularly well, and of course there are those edge cases that
> need to be taken care of--but my perception is that C+POSIX is much more
> reliable a platform than Common Lisp.

In a world of closed source, proprietary OS like we had 20 years ago,
yes.

In a world of free software, easily downloadable from the Net, and
installable on any machine, not anymore, C+POSIX is not more reliable
a platform than Common Lisp or anything else. For example, IIRC,
MacOSX 10.5 is delivered to the users with ruby, without gcc.

It's not harder to download darwin ports, and type port install sbcl
to get a CL platform than it is to type port install gcc to get a
C+POSIX one.

I don't have the impression that MS-Windows is delivered to the users
with a C compiler either... Download for download, you can as well
download sbcl or clisp to make your MS-Windows box a programmable
computer.


> It's also much more low-level and much more prone to segfaults and
> security holes. At the moment I'd rather program in non-portable CL
> than in portable C, but that's me.

--
__Pascal Bourguignon__

Peter Hildebrandt

unread,
May 6, 2008, 1:14:32 PM5/6/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 18:13:21 +0200, <plamen...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On May 3, 8:30 pm, Ken Tilton <kennytil...@optonline.net> wrote:
>
>>
>> What I see happening is India or China discovering CL specifically and
>> standardizing on it (er, informally) and crushing the West. Man, that
>> would be funny, but not surprising.
>
> Kenny, if one knows the history, then he knows the future...
>
> http://home.pipeline.com/~hbaker1/sigplannotices/gigo-1997-04.html

Wonderful reading, thanks a lot! :)

Peter

> Have fun :)
>
> Plamen Stamov
>
> P.S. And for newbies - read better the rest of the Baker's articles.

--
Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

Edi Weitz

unread,
May 6, 2008, 1:55:13 PM5/6/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 12:20:29 -0400, George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:

>>How many useful and/or successful Windows apps have been written in
>>pure standard C plus standard POSIX?
>
> Zero ... it can't be done.

Thanks, that was the point I was trying to make.

> Windows itself abuses portability. The code between the GUI glue
> can be portable but the whole cannot be.

That's different for GUI programs on OS X or KDE or Gnome?

Rainer Joswig

unread,
May 6, 2008, 2:31:40 PM5/6/08
to
In article <7c7ie7w...@pbourguignon.anevia.com>,

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

> Robert Uhl <eadm...@NOSPAMgmail.com> writes:
>
> > Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de> writes:
> >>
> >>> I'm no longer writing CL, I'm writing a dialect of CL that is
> >>> dependent on the success or otherwise of my vender.
> >>
> >> How is that different from C/C++?
> >
> > With standard C plus standard POSIX, you're pretty much certain that
> > your app will run anywhere important. You're not certain that it'll run
> > fast or particularly well, and of course there are those edge cases that
> > need to be taken care of--but my perception is that C+POSIX is much more
> > reliable a platform than Common Lisp.
>
> In a world of closed source, proprietary OS like we had 20 years ago,
> yes.
>
> In a world of free software, easily downloadable from the Net, and
> installable on any machine, not anymore, C+POSIX is not more reliable
> a platform than Common Lisp or anything else. For example, IIRC,
> MacOSX 10.5 is delivered to the users with ruby, without gcc.

The development tools are on the Mac OS X installer DVD. You have to
install them.

> It's not harder to download darwin ports, and type port install sbcl
> to get a CL platform than it is to type port install gcc to get a
> C+POSIX one.
>
> I don't have the impression that MS-Windows is delivered to the users
> with a C compiler either... Download for download, you can as well
> download sbcl or clisp to make your MS-Windows box a programmable
> computer.
>
>
> > It's also much more low-level and much more prone to segfaults and
> > security holes. At the moment I'd rather program in non-portable CL
> > than in portable C, but that's me.

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

Johan Ur Riise

unread,
May 6, 2008, 3:00:01 PM5/6/08
to
"John Thingstad" <jpt...@online.no> writes:

> Just like 80% of the population think they drive better than average

You know, this is possible, if there are a few really bad drivers.

CL-USER> (defparameter *population* (cons 0 (cons 0 (loop repeat 8 collect 99))))
*POPULATION*
CL-USER> *population*
(0 0 99 99 99 99 99 99 99 99)
CL-USER> (defun mean (list) (float (/ (reduce #'+ list) (length list))))
MEAN
CL-USER> (mean *population*)
79.2
CL-USER> (count 79.2 *population* :test '<)
8
CL-USER> (length *population*)
10
CL-USER>

Duane Rettig

unread,
May 6, 2008, 3:43:03 PM5/6/08
to
Slobodan Blazeski <slobodan...@gmail.com> writes:

I'm not sure of the meaning of your reply. Are you saying that I
committed an immoral act by suggesting that Scheme and Lisp are
related?

Espen Vestre

unread,
May 6, 2008, 4:00:07 PM5/6/08
to
Johan Ur Riise <jo...@riise-data.no> writes:

>> Just like 80% of the population think they drive better than average
>
> You know, this is possible, if there are a few really bad drivers.

But then the arithmetic mean is a bad average measure... (on data
sets like this, the median is usually a better bet).
--
(espen)

Robert Uhl

unread,
May 6, 2008, 7:03:42 PM5/6/08
to
Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de> writes:
>
>> With standard C plus standard POSIX, you're pretty much certain that
>> your app will run anywhere important.
>
> How many useful and/or successful Windows apps have been written in
> pure standard C plus standard POSIX?

Well, cygwin has a lot:-)

Note that I wrote 'anywhere important.' 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.

Death Before Dishonour
Beer Before Lunch

George Neuner

unread,
May 6, 2008, 10:47:20 PM5/6/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 13:55:13 -0400, Edi Weitz <spam...@agharta.de>
wrote:

>On Tue, 06 May 2008 12:20:29 -0400, George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:
>
>> Windows itself abuses portability. The code between the GUI glue
>> can be portable but the whole cannot be.
>
>That's different for GUI programs on OS X or KDE or Gnome?

It potentially could be if the program were written for raw X instead
of using a widget framework or the native window manager.

Peter Hildebrandt

unread,
May 7, 2008, 3:11:22 AM5/7/08
to

Actually, the widget frameworks for both KDE and Gnome, Qt and GTK
respectively, are available for linux, windows, and OSX -- meaning that if
you refrain from using platform-specific things, your GUI application will
in fact be portable.

The critical point here is the separation of operating system (platform
specific), window manager (less so), and widget toolkit (portable).

Peter

Slobodan Blazeski

unread,
May 7, 2008, 3:17:43 AM5/7/08
to
On May 6, 9:43 pm, Duane Rettig <du...@franz.com> wrote:

> Slobodan Blazeski <slobodan.blaze...@gmail.com> writes:
> > On May 6, 5:43 pm, Duane Rettig <du...@franz.com> wrote:
> >> I was the one that originally suggested to the tiobe people that they
> >> combine Lisp and Scheme.
>
> > You're only sin in all those years I'm reading this group.
>
> I'm not sure of the meaning of your reply.  Are you saying that I
> committed an immoral act by suggesting that Scheme and Lisp are
> related?
Immoral yes, but its because you persuaded tiobe that scheme and lisp
are SAME language so they can be aggregated, something that couldn't
be farther from the truth. Tiobe is the index of programming languages
and as soon it started become a index of programming languages WITH
SOME language families the sense was lost. How do I know what part of
lisp popularity comes from scheme and what part comes from lisp. When
that information was lost by aggregation,I stopped fallowing it.
So you did cl a bad favour. But don't worry to much you had a lot of
good karma to spare.

slobodan
The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

Edi Weitz

unread,
May 7, 2008, 7:17:44 AM5/7/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 17:03:42 -0600, Robert Uhl <eadm...@NOSPAMgmail.com> wrote:

> Note that I wrote 'anywhere important.' 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.

Whoa, really? And I - naive as I am - thought an operating
system that has a 95% market penetration must have /some/
economical relevance at least. Now you're telling me nobody
except me takes it seriously anymore?

That's what I love about this newsgroup - you get the inside
scoop from real practitioners. And for free!

Thanks, man! Anyone wants my LispWorks Windows license?

Edi.

Edi Weitz

unread,
May 7, 2008, 7:18:55 AM5/7/08
to
On Tue, 06 May 2008 22:47:20 -0400, George Neuner <gneuner2/@/comcast.net> wrote:

>>That's different for GUI programs on OS X or KDE or Gnome?
>
> It potentially could be if the program were written for raw X
> instead of using a widget framework or the native window manager.

Sounds like fun. And I'm sure the users will like it, especially the
Mac users...

tibor...@gmail.com

unread,
May 7, 2008, 7:28:54 AM5/7/08