What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community

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Erik Naggum

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Aug 31, 2001, 1:57:38 AM8/31/01
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I want to live in a world of competent, intelligent, caring people. This
is a large part of the reason I was attracted to computers in the 1970's.
Computer people showed passion for their work, dedication to quality, and
above all, both a strong sense of joy in their skills and their work and
an equally strong sense of pride in the results of their work. It was a
lot of _fun_ to hang around older computer people when I was a kid, it
was utterly wonderful to be able to use large computers at the University
of Oslo and learn to use and program under TOPS-10 and TOPS-20 on _real_
computers, massive DECsystem-10s and -20s. People in the business gave
me computers to play with, I was invited to test new stuff that would not
hit the market for months, both DEC and IBM sent me half a ton of system
documentation for free. All of the people I came into contact with were
happy they could work with computers and they spread that happiness to
anyone who looked as if they had the capacity to care about computers.
Then I was shown a Lisp on a VAX running BSD Unix (probably Franz Lisp),
and more competent, intelligent, caring people virtually sprung up around
me, eager to show me cool stuff and waiting for me to grasp the elegance.
I felt like I was born a Lisper, that this was the language that matched
how I thought, as opposed to Fortran, Cobol, Pascal or any of the other
Algol derivatives, which I had of course learned and played with. (The
only other language that had said "me" was the assembly language of the
PDP-10, MACRO-10.) But it was hard to use Lisp for real stuff, so I had
little opportunity to use it for real. Unix arrived on the scene in 1980
and I learned C, because it was the language of joy in the Unix world,
and everybody were excited and happy about it. Mastering it was a huge
challenge, but I did, and that was very satisfying and people came to me
and offered lots of money to help them create bug-free applications or
debug their applications. Ten years after I had discovered computers,
and still a kid, I started to make a living programming them and helping
people realize their desires on computers. I found that I could make
people happy and that my love of my work was contagious: it was just so
great to watch people share my satisfaction that something _worked_ that
they had not even dared to hope would. Over and over again, I felt
"Yeah! I am _good_ at this!" and both the computers and the people I
talked to concurred. I was far from alone in feeling like this. All
around me were people who felt the same way, who were competent and
intelligent and caring about each their own fields, and we could talk
about and study each other's work and share information and sit down
together and solve problems bigger than each of us could deal with alone
and all around us was the common understanding that computers were great,
that our languages were great, that we were great because we knew how to
use them to great benefit, that everything was just plain _great_.

I believe every computer enthusiast recognizes himself in these words. I
have certainly met so many real enthusiasts all over the world that I do
not think those who did not share these feelings worked with computers in
the 1970's, 1980's or even early 1990's. Today, we have a lot of people
who only work with computers because it pays for their expensive homes,
cars, spouses, and kids, but I do not care much about those people, and
they have no impact on the industry, either, as they are the people who
get laid off and simply go into another business they do not care much
about either if they cannot continue to work with computers. The rest of
the computer people are just as competent, intelligent, and caring as
they used to be, and they drive innovation, development, excitement in
new stuff of all kinds. They also keep the little fire within burning
with a passion for the older things they have loved all their lives.

For every hardware or software product, there are enthusiasts: wild,
untamed, uncontrollable people who overflow with excitement that "normal"
people have no way to understand. It is that _excitement_ that sets us
apart from the crowd. It is that _excitement_ that causes people to join
free software and open source projects to give away their work to others
of the same kind. This is why free software and open source are mostly
developer-to-developer, because only developers share their joy. Users
do not understand, they do not care, and they do not understand why we
care. The currency in the developer community is _enthusiasm_. Not just
your own for your own work, but for the competence, intelligence, and
caring that just about anybody else excudes, too. As a developer, you
are not judged solely by your work, but by how great you think it is,
what went into making it great, and for your capacity to understand how
great somebody else's work is.

All of the software tools on the Internet have a following behind them:
People who _care_ and who are willing to help others who care. All
languages have groups of dedicated people behind them that profess their
love for their language, in direct words, in direct action, in every way
they can. All languages with vendors behind them have developer forums
where people come with a general attitude that the tools are great and
that the vendor does a great job providing for them, unless, of course,
there are bugs, in which case the "angry side" of developers show up and
they feel personally betrayed by incompetent, unintelligent, or careless
people. But give them half a chance to prove otherwise, and developers
will love them again, forgiving and forgetting, because they share the
overall enthusiasm that drives us all. In fact, developer to developer,
we do not only expect enthusiasm, we demand it. There is something very
_wrong_ with a developer who just slops something together and leaves a
stinking heap of dysfunctional crap, and such people _anger_ developers.

The demand for enthusiasm is a profound recognition of the competence,
intelligence and caring that _must_ go into computer software. It is
among the hardest mental tasks known to man to create bug-free software.
We manage to do it because we demand competence, intelligence and caring
from _all_ the people who take part in its creation. If there are
somebody among us who fail to deliver on these counts, the are not only
doing a bad job, they are destroying part of the very fragile fabric that
know keeps everything together. Because, let us just face it right away:
Creating software is so immensely hard that we cannot afford to create it
in a world where incompetent, unintelligent, careless people must be safe
from harm. This is different from every other engineering discipline --
all of them are about ensuring that the blundering moron does not get
himself killed. Software can crash on the incompetent, bridges cannot.
We "solve" this problem by requiring of the people that set the standards
for our industry that they be enthusiasts, highly competent, highly
intelligent, very caring enhtusiasts who are devoted and dedicated to a
level of quality that would be unimaginable in any other discipline. We
do not always get what we want, but that is the requirement we have.

The optimism that the information technology industry managed to excude
to the general public a few years ago led to the hyperinflation in IT
stocks. The wild, untamed, uncontrollable excitement that computer
people feel towards their own work spilled over into the general public
for the first time, and the public was completely unprepared for it, so
they thought it was more than the _feeling_ shared among developers. It
went really bad. Billions of dollars have moved from the hands of those
who believed to unscrupulous, big spenders who were not developers, but
managers and other suits who got a whiff of our enthusiasm and could not
handle it. Such is the immense power of the enthusiasm that developers
and computer people feel that it has probably produced a global recession
when it affected people who did not know that it was a feeling _reserved_
for competent, intelligent, caring people who knew where it came from and
when it should be used. However sad the losses and difficult our times
because of it, the enthusiasm remains untamed among developers. They may
be more cautious in their spending and they may regret that they spent
all that free money too soon, but their core belief in competence,
intelligence, and caring has not changed. Developers everywhere are
still devoting their time and their lives to the extremely high quality
of their work. The enthusiasm that defines computer people has not been
killed by being laid off, by losing money, by failing products, even by
betrayal from managers, investors, what have you. Computers are great,
our languages are great, we are great, we just had a bit of bad luck. I
include this part of negativism because I want to show that the greatness
that keeps us together and in the business survived such a huge blow.

I think Common Lisp is a really _great_ language. I absolutely loved Guy
Steele's "Common Lisp the Language" in both editions -- he excudes more
competence, intelligence, and caring than any other programming language
book author I have read. His profound and rich sense of humor is no
accident. I think ANSI Common Lisp is the best standard there is, and
the language it defines is most certainly the top of the crop. I feel a
deep personal satisfaction in being able to program in this greatest of
languages.

Now, when I approach a Common Lisp vendor, I fully _expect_ him to share
my enthusiasm for the technology I want to purchase from him and probably
to exceed mine because he created something great for a great language
and since I have discovered both the great language, the great product,
and the great vendor, we should be able to share a _lot_ of enthusiasm.
If the vendor does not share my enthusiasm, there is something _wrong_
with him. If the vendor insults what I think is great, he is insane --
no two ways about that. My enthusiasm for Common Lisp is not affected by
a negative idiot who thinks it sucks. For every language and product,
there are people who are _not_ members of their respective communities
who hate them with a passion very close in magnitude to the passionate
love felt by its adherents, so this is not something I care about at all.
Outsiders to any community have always been behaving like idiots.

However, there is something _very_ seriously wrong with the Common Lisp
community. People _in_ the community feel that it is perfectly OK to
debase, denigrate, ridicule, denounce, disrespect, insult, defame, and
smear Common Lisp. Instead of telling people how great a language we
have, some certifiable nutcases spend their time propagandizing and
agitating against the language, creating stupid deviant versions and
breaking with the language as defined, doing something other than what
was agreed upon, and introducing "features" that cause the knowledge base
for the language to be polluted and the skill of knowing Common Lisp to
be nigh worthless when faced with individual Common Lisp systems. [The
worst perpetrators also argue that since you have to know so much extra
in addition to Common Lisp, it does not matter that you cannot use your
skill set from having learned Common Lisp.)

Instead of being able to trust an implementation to follow the standard,
to let the standard be the baseline of expectations, Common Lisp users
are taught by expect things to be broken. If an insane vendor goes out
of his way to decry the incompetence of the standards committee because
he did not get his will on, say, lower-case symbol names, and he shows
the whole world that he writes code that does not work correctly if you
want standard behavior, that does something to the ability of developers
to trust the implementation. Instead of taking conformance for granted,
we have to check for it, read the release notes files very carefully to
see that, oops, floating point contagion works differently here, the
standard pathnames are broken by design so not supported, and it was just
plain wrong to specify how CLOS objects should be updated when the class
is updated, so we omitted that. These are not bugs. These are not best
efforts that fall short for lack of resources and that will be fixed
given the resources. These are _intentional_ violations. I call them
"political bugs".

The desire to maintain a greatness is so powerful in other communities
that they split whenever they need an incompatible feature. A new name
is often chosen for the new language. Anything to keep people looking
upwards and onwards. The new feature is great to those who follow it,
and the old feature is great to those who stay. Never mind the people
who are not members of our community. In the Common Lisp community,
however, it is perfectly OK for people to continue to call their deviant
languages "Common Lisp" even though they purposefully break with it, and
people who hate all sorts of features _stay_. They do _not_ leave when
they are disgruntled and have better ideas. It is somebody else's fault
when their better ideas are defeated. The inevitable conclusion is that
Common Lisp is _not_ great to Common Lisp people. As a community, we are
_unable_ to chase away the negative morons and their destructive forces.
Instead, some people even defend the "right" of the destructive nutcases
to continue to hammer on the greatness of their language. A feeble lack
of enthusiasm follows, where "it is just a tool" and "it has good sides
and bad". So, why should anyone choose Common Lisp over any other tool?

For some time, lots of Lisp people have asked why (Common) Lisp is dying.
There are some objections every now and then, like when a dying parent
keeps his ungrateful offspring from stealing his fortune by refusing to
stop breathing. There are some people who still show signs of enthusiasm
in the Common Lisp community, who still express love for their language,
who still want the language to be fully implemented. The rabid nutcases
refer to these as "religiuos zealots". In any _other_ community, those
who love the language would be celebrated and the nay-sayers would be run
out of town, asked to go create their own community. Instead, we let
these corpses stay with us and spread death and gloom and pestilence, and
anyone who arrives in our community will take one whiff of the death and
decide to go elsewhere, anywhere, because just about anywhere else, you
find _vibrant_ enthusiasm among the community members.

We need to throw out and bury the corpses. Those who think Common Lisp
sucks are _not_ members of the Common Lisp community. Those who want to
work with Common Lisp should feel free to express their _love_ for the
language, should not be ashamed to be _excited_ about their language,
should feel comfortable _sharing_ with others in the community, and
should experience a strong sense of commmon competence, intelligence and
care from joyful, happy people who have seen a great languge survive all
sorts of problems and changes and still remain a truly great language.
This is not possible when people who hate parts of the language, some of
the people who created it, or some of the process that created it, who
hold personal grudges they cannot let go of, or who think the best way to
"improve" the language is to stay in the community and spread negativity
and tear down everybody else's enthusiasm, do just that. No improvement
at all will take place when such negativity rules because everybody is
afraid that if they open up for any change at all, the destructive forces
will win and the language they love will be destroyed by the hatemongers
and destroyers who seek only their own personal revenge over feature wars
lost. And that is precisely the case with Common Lisp. Strong negative
forces want to reverse several decisions and threaten to destabilize the
language, so in order to maintain the necessary peace that will allow
developers to use this language at all, _nothing_ happens. By mounting a
constant attack on the standards process, the nutcases who are never
going to be happy with the language, anyway, ensure that their negative
attitude keeps everyone else from being happy and becoming happier, too.

The enthusiasm that really helps improve a language is a love for it the
way it is and has evolved so far, with an understanding and appreciation
of its "momentum of evolution" so that any changes that are proposed seek
to retain the users and the investments in it and does not splinter off
into a different language and break with the past. People who love their
language develop it further and share their ideas of its evolution so
that the community takes part in deciding where to go, but they never
seek to "improve through destruction". People who love their language
want to go from "great" to "greater", not from "great" via "sucks" to
"different".

Can we do this? Can people who are still enthusiastic about Common Lisp
the language, even after reading a 20K long news article, please raise a
hand and express their feelings? Can you stand up and say "I _love_
Common Lisp!" in a crowd and feel proud of yourself? Do you want to
fight for Common Lisp at work, at school, at home? Do you want to tell
people how great Common Lisp is? Do you want to share of your time to
help make Common Lisp a continued success and to go from survivor to
winner? Do you want to pay hard earned cash to make sure that Common
Lisp vendors succeeds because you know that that helps you succeed? Do
you want to help make _all_ the vendors and Common Lisp system builders
stop their negative spins on the language and the standard and just do
the right thing and implement the standard faithfully _first_, and then
do whatever else they think is also great _afterwards_, _without_ making
any insults towards the standard or the rest of the community?

It will take hard work to get the negative attitudes out of the system.
It will require significant effort to convince the vendors who still have
rabid nutcases on staff to want to change their public image to a more
up-beat, enthusiastic one. E.g., convincing the CLISP maintainers to get
rid of the negative attitude problem in stuff like this

-ansi
ANSI CL compliant: Comply with the ANSI CL specification even on
those issues where ANSI CL is broken. This option is provided for
maximum portability of Lisp programs, and is not useful for actual
everyday work. It sets the symbol macro *ansi* to t. See "Maximum
ANSI CL compliance", for details.

would be a good start. It should be possible to argue for a better way
without _having_ to debase what one does not like. If one argues for
something different based on something that others think is great being
bad, nobody who likes the existing stuff will want to listen, and instead
they get all defensive and want to keep the lunatics at bay.

I actually believe thare are enough Common Lisp enthusiasts out there to
make a difference if we can get the corpses that stink up the place out
and that there is nothing wrong with Common Lisp's following or fans if
they can be allowed to express their enthusiasms instead of being hurt by
rabid nutcases who insist on insulting both language and its happy users.

///

Richard Krush

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Aug 31, 2001, 5:36:57 AM8/31/01
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On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 05:57:38 GMT, Erik Naggum wrote:
>
> [... 9 pages of interesting thoughts and statements ...]
>

Perhaps you will call me "rabid nutcase" or maybe just and "outsider" to the
world of LISP or even computers and programming, but I still would like to
write several sentences of my comments.

First of all I must say that while still being a very new follower of LISP,
I do love and respect the language. I am also quite enthusiastic about telling
other people about LISP and how great a language it is. The key word to all
that, however, is "language". In your article you made an impression that
LISP is a religion or at least a philosophy and that unbelievers (so-called
"destructive/rabid nutcases" or "negative morons") are sent by the satan.
The problem here (IMHO, of course) is that LISP is _not_ a religion and it
_not_ even a philosophy, instead it _is_ a tool and it _has_ good and bad
sides. Moreover, people who choose to be blind when it comes to the bad sides
and to the fact that standards change and new needs arrive, _can_ be called
"religious zealots".

Here's a simple parallel: suppose you have a hammer with standard rubber
handle which has little bumps all over it for better grip, yet they irritate
your hand. Will you go to the store and buy a new hammer or a new handle or
will you take a knife and illiminate the bumps and use your existing hammer?
Of course there's a possibility that you have many hammers in your toolshed,
in which case you will just go and take a different one without such bumps
(or with fewer bumps), but let's forget about that this time.

So, unless you really hate knives or you really like to drive to the store
and spend money on new stuff, you will probably choose to eliminate the small
inconviniece yourslef. Now when the inconvenience grows bigger and many people
choose to eliminate them themselves, the store that sells our hammers will
probably want to change the design of their hammer so customers will be happy.
This does not mean that every store everywhere will do the same, perhaps
because they think it's too small to change their standard or just because
they choose not to. So now we have stores that have eliminated the inconvenience
and stores that did not, so which will succeed more? I cannot say that the
stores that did not eliminate the bumps will go out of bussiness completely
or loose all their customers, there might be people who work in gloves and
the bumps really do help them have a better grip, so they stay with the
standard.

Unless the standard hammers have other inconveniences and a whole lot of
influencial people decide to change the standard, the standard stays the same
and we have standard hammers that many people find obsolete and we have new
non-standard hammers that many people find better and new. So should the
non-standard hammers now be renamed so the standard hammers can be standard
or do they stay with the name "hammer"?

Ok, looks like my "sever sentences" have grown to a page, but I hope I did
make my point clear. I will not comment on any of the specific cases of
implementations being non-ANSI compliant, I'm just stating my general opinion
about standards and changes in standards.

Regards,
rk

Richard Krush

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Aug 31, 2001, 5:44:20 AM8/31/01
to
On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 05:57:38 GMT, Erik Naggum wrote:
>
> [... 9 pages of interesting thoughts and statements ...]
>

Perhaps you will call me "rabid nut-case" or maybe just and "outsider" to the


world of LISP or even computers and programming, but I still would like to
write several sentences of my comments.

First of all I must say that while still being a very new follower of LISP,
I do love and respect the language. I am also quite enthusiastic about telling
other people about LISP and how great a language it is. The key word to all
that, however, is "language". In your article you made an impression that

LISP is a religion or at least a philosophy and that un-believers (so-called
"destructive/rabid nut-cases" or "negative morons") are sent by the satan.


The problem here (IMHO, of course) is that LISP is _not_ a religion and it
_not_ even a philosophy, instead it _is_ a tool and it _has_ good and bad
sides. Moreover, people who choose to be blind when it comes to the bad sides
and to the fact that standards change and new needs arrive, _can_ be called
"religious zealots".

Here's a simple parallel: suppose you have a hammer with standard rubber
handle which has little bumps all over it for better grip, yet they irritate
your hand. Will you go to the store and buy a new hammer or a new handle or

will you take a knife and eliminate the bumps and use your existing hammer?
Of course there's a possibility that you have many hammers in your tool-shed,


in which case you will just go and take a different one without such bumps
(or with fewer bumps), but let's forget about that this time.

So, unless you really hate knives or you really like to drive to the store
and spend money on new stuff, you will probably choose to eliminate the small

inconvenience yourself. Now when the inconvenience grows bigger and many people


choose to eliminate them themselves, the store that sells our hammers will
probably want to change the design of their hammer so customers will be happy.
This does not mean that every store everywhere will do the same, perhaps
because they think it's too small to change their standard or just because
they choose not to. So now we have stores that have eliminated the inconvenience
and stores that did not, so which will succeed more? I cannot say that the

stores that did not eliminate the bumps will go out of bossiness completely


or loose all their customers, there might be people who work in gloves and
the bumps really do help them have a better grip, so they stay with the
standard.

Unless the standard hammers have other inconveniences and a whole lot of

influential people decide to change the standard, the standard stays the same

Janis Dzerins

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Aug 31, 2001, 5:51:37 AM8/31/01
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Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:

> Can we do this? Can people who are still enthusiastic about Common Lisp
> the language, even after reading a 20K long news article, please raise a
> hand and express their feelings?

I love Common Lisp! I quit my previous job just because the boss
didn't even try to understand me and my enthusiasm about it.

[Quitting a well-paid job without even having another place ready to
go to is quite a crazy thing to do here. I even don't know any other
Common Lisp programmer (except the one who is learning it -- the guy
from my previous working place) in my country.]

I love Common Lisp as it is and would be really happy to see it become
even better.

I'll be there when we're taking the fortress :)

--
Janis Dzerins

If million people say a stupid thing it's still a stupid thing.

Erik Naggum

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Aug 31, 2001, 6:55:53 AM8/31/01
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* rich...@gmx.net (Richard Krush)

> In your article you made an impression that LISP is a religion or at
> least a philosophy and that unbelievers (so-called "destructive/rabid
> nutcases" or "negative morons") are sent by the satan.

Huh!? If you get that impression, if it is because you think in those
terms. I most certainly do not. Enthusiasm and religion do have some
emotions in common, but I think you must be out of your mind if you see
evidence of your impression in what I wrote.

> Moreover, people who choose to be blind when it comes to the bad sides
> and to the fact that standards change and new needs arrive, _can_ be
> called "religious zealots".

Nobody chooses to be blind to them (where do you get these insane ideas?),
they simply do not denigrate the whole language because of things they do
not use or, better, work to improve through the standardization channels
they trust to correct mistakes because they still love the language.

Obviously, you did not get the message at all. Let me just hope somebody
else does.

///

Siegfried Gonzi

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Aug 31, 2001, 7:35:44 AM8/31/01
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Erik Naggum wrote:

>
> Obviously, you did not get the message at all. Let me just hope somebody
> else does.

Your message has been very interesting, but Erik: You are a naive guy.
Do you really believe there is a collaboration between dealers and the
user-community?

On one side you are promoting (in other posts) that only
commercial-dealers are capable of producing a good Lisp product and now
you are whining. Erik, there will never be the situation when dealers
will ask you what you want. This is not because you are Erik Naggum, its
because they run a business and nothing else.

I am also a naive guy and often promote a programming language in the
hope the developers want also hear my opinion; but often I get the
impression they do not listen.

I am not against commercial-products (even when they are pricy; we also
in the astophysics-community use expensive tools, e.g. IDL costs USD
2500.-), but open or free software can in some cases be more flexible.


S. Gonzi

Ola Rinta-Koski

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Aug 31, 2001, 7:46:25 AM8/31/01
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Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:
> Erik, there will never be the situation when dealers will ask you
> what you want. This is not because you are Erik Naggum, its because
> they run a business and nothing else.

People who run a business generally listen to their customers if
they want to stay in business.
--
Ola Rinta-Koski o...@cyberell.com
Cyberell Oy +358 41 467 2502
Rauhankatu 8 C, FIN-00170 Helsinki, FINLAND www.cyberell.com

Tim Bradshaw

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Aug 31, 2001, 8:10:42 AM8/31/01
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Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:

>
> On one side you are promoting (in other posts) that only
> commercial-dealers are capable of producing a good Lisp product and now
> you are whining. Erik, there will never be the situation when dealers
> will ask you what you want. This is not because you are Erik Naggum, its
> because they run a business and nothing else.
>

Well, *I* sure hope vendors ask their customers what they want every
once in a while!

--tim

Eduardo Muñoz

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Aug 31, 2001, 8:20:20 AM8/31/01
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rich...@gmx.net (Richard Krush) writes:

> On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 05:57:38 GMT, Erik Naggum wrote:
> >
> > [... 9 pages of interesting thoughts and statements ...]

Yes, I raise my newbie hand :)


> Here's a simple parallel: suppose you have a hammer [...]

This is IMHO a bad analogy. When you end your work
you take the hammer with you. The code is a
product, not a tool.

Now lets think about something standard that stays
with the final product when you leave.
Nuts & bolts, thats it. Now you're working happily
and some-big-bolt-making-company *replaces* all
his products with non-standard enhanded nuts and
bolts. We have a problem here.

The good thing (tm) is IMHO to sell standard
products *and* special non-standard work-specific
products. Doing it otherwise you're screwing :)
your customers.


--

Eduardo Muñoz

Erik Naggum

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Aug 31, 2001, 8:29:50 AM8/31/01
to
* Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at>

> Your message has been very interesting, but Erik: You are a naive guy.

Really? Naïve. Nobody has ever said that before. I think you are
reading a _lot_ of stuff into what I said that simply is not there, and
the rest of your message is so far out I think this conclusion is
warranted.

> Do you really believe there is a collaboration between dealers and the
> user-community?

Um, actually, yes (provided that you meant "vendor", as in producer of
products). If you do not believe there is, you are simply ignorant and
cynical.

> On one side you are promoting (in other posts) that only
> commercial-dealers are capable of producing a good Lisp product and now
> you are whining.

I am whining? About what? Are you sure you have read what I wrote?

> Erik, there will never be the situation when dealers will ask you what
> you want.

And this has what to do with what I said? Do you perhaps not see the
difference between stating what I want from a vendor and wanting them to
ask me what I want? Why should the vendor ask _me_ for anything but my
money? The real question is how smart they are in trying to pry them
loose from my hard and fast grip when I tell them that I want a fully
conforming implementation of Common Lisp and some enthusiasm, please. If
they are just a wee bit smarter than completely asinine bozos, they will
understand that denouncing the very things I came to them to purchase is
not the way to do it. Unless, of course, they have been taught by their
users that it _is_ OK to denounce the standard they try to implement.

> This is not because you are Erik Naggum, its because they run a business
> and nothing else.

And this has what to do with what I said? What do you think running a
business entails? If they say "we hate the standard, but buy the best
implementation of that shit from us", do you think they run a business or
a freak show? If they ran a business, they would say "we love this
stuff, and if you buy the best implementation of this wonderful stuff
from us, we'll love you, too". That is what marketing is all about.

> I am also a naive guy and often promote a programming language in the
> hope the developers want also hear my opinion; but often I get the
> impression they do not listen.

And this has what to do with what I said?

> I am not against commercial-products (even when they are pricy; we also
> in the astophysics-community use expensive tools, e.g. IDL costs USD
> 2500.-), but open or free software can in some cases be more flexible.

And this has what to do with what I said?

Is the concept of enthusiasm _really_ this foreign to people?

Perhaps this was a naïve thing to do. I mean, post an optimistic,
upbeat, enthusiastic message about how languages thrive only when people
love them, to a crowd of fucking retards who want their language to
wither and die. What was I _thinking_? Well, I put my neck out. If the
Common Lisp community rejects enthusiasm and optimism and they really
find it much more fascinating to post gloom and doom and listen to the
death knell of their past loved ones than to get a grip on themselves and
start thinking positively, well, then _I_ have better things to do with
my life than to congregate with such pathetic losers. Perhaps this will
be a test. Perhaps we will see a show of hands from the negative morons
and the positive people who want Common Lisp to live are way outnumbered.
Then I have no reason to expect anything from this community at all and
the vendors are indeed right to denounce their own livelihood and try to
grab as much cash from the poor sods who still use Common Lisp as they
can, because they see that they are going downhill and do not even want
to _try_ any way to get back on track. Perhaps it was really stupid to
ask publicly if people were positive or negative, to ask people to say
they love or hate their language, because perhaps everybody just loathes
Common Lisp and I am the only "religious zealot" left who likes it?
Perhaps the John Foderaros among you are right. But I still hope not.

///

Siegfried Gonzi

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:06:18 AM8/31/01
to
Erik Naggum wrote:

> Then I have no reason to expect anything from this community at all and
> the vendors are indeed right to denounce their own livelihood and try to
> grab as much cash from the poor sods who still use Common Lisp as they
> can, because they see that they are going downhill and do not even want
> to _try_ any way to get back on track.

There seems to be a problem with your stance:

a) Why do expect anything from the community; or better: why should the
community care on Naggum?

b) You are only a Lisp programmer, but you are not the inventor of Lisp
nor you are in any Lisp-standard-commitee (prove me wrong)

c) Do you really think that promoting a language or a product in a
newsgroup will really change the behaviour of the community?

d) Naggum! You will have to learn that you are not alone on this planet.
And when there is the situation that most part of the community is not
on your side, so you should accept it. Nobody impedes you, and you can
make your own Common-Lisp-Naggum standard.

e) Write a book about good Lisp style ( you may not have to search for a
publisher; there is a WWW, you can put it as LaTex/DVI or whatever you
prefer for downloading on your homepage)

f) Erik, you are a buck more naive as thought.


So, this was my last conversation with you, because the coming soon
situation will be: Whining Naggum will write:

Fucking: "I think you are reading a _lot_ of stuff into what I said


that simply is not there, and the rest of your

message is so far out I think this conclusion is...".

Naggum, this is not my problem when you believe other people are not
capable of reading your posts. Then you must not write posts.


S. Gonzi
[By the way. I do not think that Franz Inc. is that devil. I cannot
imagine that a company is greedy when they also give defacto free Lisp
versions for Linux.]

Valeriy E. Ushakov

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:17:41 AM8/31/01
to
Richard Krush <rich...@gmx.net> wrote:

> Moreover, people who choose to be blind when it comes to the bad
> sides and to the fact that standards change and new needs arrive,
> _can_ be called "religious zealots".

Love is not being "blind when it comes to the bad sides". People love
not "because of", they love "despite". I *love* my kid, but I can
tell quite a few things I don't *like* about him. Now, that's the
whole idea of raising a kid, you can't take out neither love, nor a
critical thinking from the equation - and anything else is an
implementation detail (pedagogy).

Being blind to bad sides of your kid is a good start to raise a
homicidal maniac. Look what happened to C++ or perl ;).

SY, Uwe
--
u...@ptc.spbu.ru | Zu Grunde kommen
http://www.ptc.spbu.ru/~uwe/ | Ist zu Grunde gehen

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:37:08 AM8/31/01
to
Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:


> Can we do this? Can people who are still enthusiastic about Common Lisp
> the language, even after reading a 20K long news article, please raise a
> hand and express their feelings?

I can. I'm not sure I agree with you on everything, but CL is
far-and-away the best programming language I've ever written in.

--tim

Tim Bradshaw

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:43:29 AM8/31/01
to
Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:

>
> b) You are only a Lisp programmer, but you are not the inventor of Lisp
> nor you are in any Lisp-standard-commitee (prove me wrong)

So who *was* that person who sat next to me at the last J13 meeting, I
wonder?

Ian Wild

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:23:23 AM8/31/01
to
Siegfried Gonzi wrote:
>
> And when there is the situation that most part of the community is not
> on your side, so you should accept it.

Do you actually have any evidence that most of the CL community
is against Erik, or are you just guessing?

> Nobody impedes you, and you can
> make your own Common-Lisp-Naggum standard.

I strongly suspect this mythical CL/N would be quite
close to the existing CL standard. All Erik seems to
be asking for is that vendors' CLs should be similarly
close, and that customers should come to require
conformance from their vendors. Is this /so/ unreasonable?

(Have you actually /read/ the article? Your responses
would make sense if you were reacting purely to the
subject line.)

Raymond Wiker

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:24:12 AM8/31/01
to
Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:

> Erik Naggum wrote:
>
> > Then I have no reason to expect anything from this community at all and
> > the vendors are indeed right to denounce their own livelihood and try to
> > grab as much cash from the poor sods who still use Common Lisp as they
> > can, because they see that they are going downhill and do not even want
> > to _try_ any way to get back on track.
>
> There seems to be a problem with your stance:
>
> a) Why do expect anything from the community; or better: why should the
> community care on Naggum?

Because Naggum is a valuable resource to the Lisp community,
perhaps?

> b) You are only a Lisp programmer, but you are not the inventor of Lisp
> nor you are in any Lisp-standard-commitee (prove me wrong)

He is an active member of the Lisp community. There is *no*
active Lisp standardisation committee at the moment.

> c) Do you really think that promoting a language or a product in a
> newsgroup will really change the behaviour of the community?
>
> d) Naggum! You will have to learn that you are not alone on this planet.
> And when there is the situation that most part of the community is not
> on your side, so you should accept it. Nobody impedes you, and you can
> make your own Common-Lisp-Naggum standard.

Start paying attention. Erik has been talking about companies
and groups of people whose Common Lisp implementations contain
gratuitous incompatibilities.

> e) Write a book about good Lisp style ( you may not have to search for a
> publisher; there is a WWW, you can put it as LaTex/DVI or whatever you
> prefer for downloading on your homepage)
>
> f) Erik, you are a buck more naive as thought.
>
>
> So, this was my last conversation with you, because the coming soon
> situation will be: Whining Naggum will write:
>
> Fucking: "I think you are reading a _lot_ of stuff into what I said
> that simply is not there, and the rest of your
> message is so far out I think this conclusion is...".
>
> Naggum, this is not my problem when you believe other people are not
> capable of reading your posts. Then you must not write posts.
>
>
> S. Gonzi
> [By the way. I do not think that Franz Inc. is that devil. I cannot
> imagine that a company is greedy when they also give defacto free Lisp
> versions for Linux.]

Whoooo.

--
Raymond Wiker
Raymon...@fast.no

Alain Picard

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:30:25 AM8/31/01
to

Dear Erik,

First of all, thank you. Thank you for articulating so clearly
why I love computers and programming. What you say, at least in
the first half of your message, is absolutely correct, and is why
I'm _so_ darn glad to go to work in the morning.

As for:

> Can we do this? Can people who are still enthusiastic about Common Lisp
> the language, even after reading a 20K long news article, please raise a
> hand and express their feelings? Can you stand up and say "I _love_
> Common Lisp!" in a crowd and feel proud of yourself?

Well, I've finally wangled to get a job where I use Lisp, and if our
company doesn't make it, I really don't know what I'll do. Try to
learn Python, maybe, but no WAY I'm going back to C++/Java.
so: "I _love_ Common Lisp!"

But, now, Erik, do you _really_ think you are helping your own cause
by calling people "moron" and "corpses"? Don't tell me whether or not
they _are_, I don't care about that. I mean, calling people that
_publicly_, do you really think that helps? Maybe it does. Shock
therapy, who knows. But I'm not very convinced.

I just don't know that the situation is as grim as you paint. Of course,
I haven't been in this community very long, so I may be in the honeymoon
period, all is rosy, etc. But I'm _happy_ with my vendor. Yes, their
implementation is often buggy, they they happily take my reports and fix
the problems. As for the open source lisps -- well -- they're open source,
aren't they? Of course you're at the mercy of the head implementor, who
may _be_ a total nutcase for all I know (I'm NOT saying he is!). But if
the community wish really IS for an ansi compliant lisp, wouldn't a fork
of the sources, to bring them into conformance, be a more positive step?

What about the work that Dan Barlow is doing, the cClan guys, the CLiki?
They seem to be LOADED with enthusiasm! It seems to me there is certainly
a community of lisp programmers who love their language, who love their
tool, and who love what they can do with it.

Anyway, I'm just rambling, but I guess I'm just hoping to cheer you up.
Good night Erik.

--Alain Picard

--
It would be difficult to construe Larry Wall, in article
this as a feature. <1995May29....@netlabs.com>

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:33:15 AM8/31/01
to
* Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at>

> a) Why do expect anything from the community; or better: why should the
> community care on Naggum?

Why do you feel under attack because I want enthusiasm and optimism and
love of the language? Why do you have to stage an all-out war against me
just because I want people to love what they do? What is wrong with you?

What are you _really_ trying to defend with your amazing lunacy? Do you
feel that you would be squeezed out of the Common Lisp community because
you are a sourpuss who wants to destroy the language and its usability?

///

Christophe Rhodes

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:43:21 AM8/31/01
to
Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:

> [...]


>
> Naggum, this is not my problem when you believe other people are not
> capable of reading your posts. Then you must not write posts.

I'd marked your article as one to respond to, as I didn't want your
ridiculous opinions to go unchallenged.

However, you seem to have been adequately squelched. Please think
about your post next time.

Christophe

Jochen Schmidt

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:49:20 AM8/31/01
to
I love Common Lisp!

Common Lisp is a great Language and I'm trying my
best to convince the people I know why I think this
to be true.

I'm not sure if this language bashing attitudes come
automatically in communities of languages that are so far
above the crap that is used by the marketing baited sheeps
of our industry, but our community often discusses lengthly
on topics that _probably_ are made not the optimal way, but
they are _certainly_ made better than in most other languages.

I don't think that there is anything so critical in
the ANSI Common Lisp Standard that it would pay to let
the community concentrate on that instead of the topics
that are _really_ needed.

Instead of having endless debates on how broken ANSI-CL might be
(which IMHO is not the case...) we should take what we have
(which is better than all I've found anywhere else) and begin
including that huge amount of missing infrastructure that "minor"
languages now have for years.

To the topic of non-conformant implementations:
It is somewhat of a shame that things like multithreading or GUI
toolkits are still considered as not really available in CL because
there are implementations that do not provide it - but it is a catastrophe
that things like "user-definable streams" or the MOP or even things like
CHANGE-CLASS are still considered as being not really standard because of
this fact.
I begin more and more to realize that trying not to use such features makes
this situation even worse. Therefore I urge all people - Use this features
wherever they are useful, only this ensures to raise the pressure to force
those who still think that this features are not needed to implement them.

To the vendors "enthusiasm":
Our vendors are so quiet most of the time (some even more quiet than others)
that most people think that there is not much momentum going on from their
side. I find it *critical* for a vendor to at least regularily (on at least
a monthly base) announce some news and even if this news are not really so
important, astonishing or new at all - what counts is the fact that the
people know they are still alive and working hard on their stuff.
Another topic is that vendors should try more to gain from their user-base.
A vendor should motivate it's users to offer some work to a central
"contributions" base. Vendors should even begin to ask themselves what
things to _not_ opensource and not what things to opensource. Imagine the
opportunities CLIM would offer if it would be opensource...
There are many people that sit down a weekend and hack some extension to a
opensource project together - but if all source is closed you can only hope
that the vendor still develops it further.

ciao,
Jochen Schmidt

--
http://www.dataheaven.de

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 9:50:06 AM8/31/01
to
* Alain Picard <api...@optushome.com.au>

> But, now, Erik, do you _really_ think you are helping your own cause by
> calling people "moron" and "corpses"? Don't tell me whether or not they
> _are_, I don't care about that. I mean, calling people that _publicly_,
> do you really think that helps? Maybe it does. Shock therapy, who
> knows. But I'm not very convinced.

Shock therapy it is. But also an attempt to show those who denounce the
language and the great stuff that I love and want to use what it feels
like to be denounced. Believe you me, they recognize this and they do
feel it.

However, you are probably right. There are probably people who like John
Foderaro despite his antisocial attitude and self-destructiveness and who
want him to stay. They would be put off by my very strong desire to have
him ostracized. If there were a way to make them take care of him and
make him realize that he could change his ways, something I personally
doubt is possible at this stage, it would have been better to encourage
that. Suffice to say that I think there is as little hope for those who
hate the standard as they think there is hope for Common Lisp becoming
what they want it to be. Now, they have been extremely vocal against the
standard in extremely unproductive ways (take it up in the committee if
you want changes, dammit!), but the standard _is_ what the community has
agreed on and what these guys pretend to be selling an implementation of.

> As for the open source lisps -- well -- they're open source, aren't they?
> Of course you're at the mercy of the head implementor, who may _be_ a
> total nutcase for all I know (I'm NOT saying he is!). But if the
> community wish really IS for an ansi compliant lisp, wouldn't a fork of
> the sources, to bring them into conformance, be a more positive step?

This would work iff the enthusiasm could be rekindled. Whoever wants to
put in any work on such a thing if they are constantly facing a barrage
of hostility from those who hate the standard?

> What about the work that Dan Barlow is doing, the cClan guys, the CLiki?
> They seem to be LOADED with enthusiasm! It seems to me there is
> certainly a community of lisp programmers who love their language, who
> love their tool, and who love what they can do with it.

You are absolutely right! These are the people that should be regarded
as the Common Lisp community.

> Anyway, I'm just rambling, but I guess I'm just hoping to cheer you up.
> Good night Erik.

Thanks for the nice words and feedback.

///

Jochen Schmidt

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 10:06:26 AM8/31/01
to
Valeriy E. Ushakov wrote:

> Richard Krush <rich...@gmx.net> wrote:
>
>> Moreover, people who choose to be blind when it comes to the bad
>> sides and to the fact that standards change and new needs arrive,
>> _can_ be called "religious zealots".
>
> Love is not being "blind when it comes to the bad sides". People love
> not "because of", they love "despite". I *love* my kid, but I can
> tell quite a few things I don't *like* about him. Now, that's the
> whole idea of raising a kid, you can't take out neither love, nor a
> critical thinking from the equation - and anything else is an
> implementation detail (pedagogy).
>
> Being blind to bad sides of your kid is a good start to raise a
> homicidal maniac. Look what happened to C++ or perl ;).

This is by far the best analogy I've read so far!

Imagine how you _would_ feel if your father is telling the people that
you suck because you have to use a pair of glasses or most other kids
can run faster on the football field...

ciao,
Jochen

--
http://www.dataheaven.de

Coby Beck

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 10:36:01 AM8/31/01
to
You are obviously being delibrately obtuse in this exchange and I can only
assume it's the result of personal feelings about Erik. You haven't really
commented at all on the content of what Erik wrote, at least not in any way
that show an understanding. (I suppose, I am now a religous zealot as
well? I hope you don't take that tack.)

Some specific comments below...

"Siegfried Gonzi" <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> wrote in message
news:3B8F8BCA...@kfunigraz.ac.at...


> Erik Naggum wrote:
>
> > Then I have no reason to expect anything from this community at all
and
> > the vendors are indeed right to denounce their own livelihood and try
to
> > grab as much cash from the poor sods who still use Common Lisp as they
> > can, because they see that they are going downhill and do not even
want
> > to _try_ any way to get back on track.
>
> There seems to be a problem with your stance:
>
> a) Why do expect anything from the community; or better: why should the
> community care on Naggum?
>

His entire post was about wanting people to care about Common Lisp and
vendors to care about the standard and the Lisp community. I have no idea
why you interprete this as any kind of appeal for personal aproval. Really,
I don't. If you expect nothing from a community it is only because you
either don't know what the word means or you do not believe in giving
anything so why should you get anything. That is your right, but I think it
is a sad thing to reject out of hand the concept of people sharing some kind
of common ground. If you feel you are part of the "community" in more than
just the fact of your presence, the only useful thing you can do in this
thread is say what you would like that common ground to be, if not then keep
your very negative world view to yourself.

> b) You are only a Lisp programmer, but you are not the inventor of Lisp
> nor you are in any Lisp-standard-commitee (prove me wrong)
>

Completely non-sequitor. An obvious truth, but who said any different?

> c) Do you really think that promoting a language or a product in a
> newsgroup will really change the behaviour of the community?
>

Why in the world not?

> d) Naggum! You will have to learn that you are not alone on this planet.
> And when there is the situation that most part of the community is not
> on your side, so you should accept it. Nobody impedes you, and you can
> make your own Common-Lisp-Naggum standard.
>

Very strange statements. You can only be misunderstanding on purpose.

This world view, where everything is "sides", and usually this implies only
two, is not an accurate reflection of reality. Instead of refferring to
this nebulous "side" of Erik's that most of us are not on, the only useful
thing you can do is explain your own opinion (the topic would be what your
hopes for lisp the language and lisp the community are, not your opinion of
Erik or his motives)

> e) Write a book about good Lisp style ( you may not have to search for a
> publisher; there is a WWW, you can put it as LaTex/DVI or whatever you
> prefer for downloading on your homepage)
>
> f) Erik, you are a buck more naive as thought.
>
>
> So, this was my last conversation with you, because the coming soon
> situation will be: Whining Naggum will write:
>
> Fucking: "I think you are reading a _lot_ of stuff into what I said
> that simply is not there, and the rest of your
> message is so far out I think this conclusion is...".
>

This is self serving for sure. Provoke him and then predict he will lash
back.

> Naggum, this is not my problem when you believe other people are not
> capable of reading your posts. Then you must not write posts.
>

You must know I dislike a great deal of what he posts, but this one it is
obvious you did not try to understand.


Coby
--
(remove #\space "coby . beck @ opentechgroup . com")


Joe Nall

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 10:35:44 AM8/31/01
to
Erik Naggum wrote:
>
> Instead of being able to trust an implementation to follow the standard,
> to let the standard be the baseline of expectations, Common Lisp users
> are taught by expect things to be broken. If an insane vendor goes out

How about a Common Lisp test suite for conformance? While there are many
things to deride in Perl, the interpreter self test and the very
organized way in which well written modules test themselves during
installation is a thing of beauty. I'm sure that the major Lisp vendors
have regression test suites - perhaps one would be willing to open
source their suite to jump start such an effort.

As a relatively new user, I think that the lack of community standards
for real world issues like network io and multi-threading are silly,
given how close the implementations really are (look at CLOCC). These
issues are critical parts of almost any real application written today -
but the community seems to be unable to build any new standards after
exhausting itself on defining Common Lisp. A language can't remain
static forever, new uses will ultimately drive new requirements which
should result in new standards.

Are there any Common Lisp test harness setups, like Perl's Test.pm, that
might be used as a basis for package level self test?

joe

Coby Beck

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 10:51:22 AM8/31/01
to

"Coby Beck" <cb...@mercury.bc.ca> wrote in message
news:lhNj7.14002$aZ.27...@typhoon.tampabay.rr.com...

> "Siegfried Gonzi" <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> wrote in message
> news:3B8F8BCA...@kfunigraz.ac.at...
> > Erik Naggum wrote:
> > b) You are only a Lisp programmer, but you are not the inventor of Lisp
> > nor you are in any Lisp-standard-commitee (prove me wrong)
>
> Completely non-sequitor. An obvious truth, but who said any different?
>

That was hastily written and really should only apply to the inventor
part...


Raymond Toy

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 11:26:51 AM8/31/01
to
>>>>> "Siegfried" == Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:

Siegfried> S. Gonzi
Siegfried> [By the way. I do not think that Franz Inc. is that devil. I cannot
Siegfried> imagine that a company is greedy when they also give defacto free Lisp
Siegfried> versions for Linux.]

What does "defacto free" mean?

And I don't consider it free. It used to be free, but nowadays it's
really an evaluation copy. Use it, evaluate it, and then either buy
it or throw it away after some fixed period. Unlike Lispworks, where
you can use it "forever" (I think).

Ray

P.S. I'm not bashing Franz for this change. They have to make money
after all and if they collapsed because they gave away Lisp for Linux,
I wouldn't be happy, even though I don't have any Franz product.

Wade Humeniuk

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 11:55:47 AM8/31/01
to
>
> Why do you feel under attack because I want enthusiasm and optimism and
> love of the language? Why do you have to stage an all-out war against
me
> just because I want people to love what they do? What is wrong with
you?
>
> What are you _really_ trying to defend with your amazing lunacy? Do you
> feel that you would be squeezed out of the Common Lisp community because
> you are a sourpuss who wants to destroy the language and its usability?
>
> ///

There seems to be disease-of-the-day:

To critizize and question every suggestion, decision, institution and
motive. My wife works at a big accounting firm and she had a conversation
with one of the older managers there. He commented on how people are now
hired for a certain skill set, to do a certain job, refuse to take any
directions (to be told what to do), and question everything to the point
where nothing gets done. He said in his day that when the boss told him to
do something (and something he had not done before, or was hired to do) he
said "Yes Sir" and just went and did it. Everybody is a know-it-all these
days. Humility is part of the road to understanding.

When I was younger learning to program was like that, I took what I was
given, I did not question if was the right way or the best way. I just did
it, I had the underlying assumption that what I was using was created by
some people who knew what they were doing. If it does not, what does it
matter? If CL is not the final word, or the best word, what does it matter?
I use it now because it is a labour of love. I still strive to have that
beginner's mind, because its the only time that I can learn.

Wade

Be a Great Student. The rest will follow.


Daniel Barlow

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 11:46:59 AM8/31/01
to
Siegfried Gonzi <siegfri...@kfunigraz.ac.at> writes:

> [barbarically wrenched from surrounding context,] Erik Naggum wrote:
>
> > Then I have no reason to expect anything from this community at all and
> > the vendors are indeed right to denounce their own livelihood and try to

[...]

> a) Why do expect anything from the community; or better: why should the
> community care on Naggum?

There are three reasons I can think of for your having asked that question

One is that you don't understand what a community is. A community is
not just a random collection of people, it's a group of people who
have a common purpose or a common interest. Given a common cause and
a collection of normal socially adjusted people, it's _inevitable_
that they will care about each other.

The second is that you don't believe Erik is part of the CL community.
There are two things I'd like to say here: (1) of course he bloody
well is! (2) supposing that there were any doubt, would you rather be
part of an open and welcoming community, or would you rather make
newcomers sit a written entrance test and swear allegiance to the flag
before you let them in? David Miller tells a story about the first
email exchange he had with Linus Torvalds, where he describes the
"dumb question" he asked, and the considered response he got
encouraging him to go on and hack on it and "assuming I knew what I
was doing". "This is cool. Why would I not want to work on a project
run by guys like that?". Davem later went on to port Linux to the
SPARC architecture, and has also hacked on SGI, networking and the VM
system.

The third is that you're questioning whether a community even exists
at all. In my darker moments I have doubts. I think there's the
basis of one. I don't think it's particularly cohesive. I _think_
(this is just gut feeling, I have no evidence) that it's picked up
somewhat over the last couple of years. I do know that an atmosphere
where people look like they're unhappy with their tools and like they
mistrust and don't respect each other is not conducive to its growth.
I'm spending less and less time reading c.l.l lately because it's just
too damn depressing.


-dan

--

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

Sam Steingold

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 12:01:01 PM8/31/01
to
> * In message <32082262...@naggum.net>
> * On the subject of "What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community"
> * Sent on Fri, 31 Aug 2001 05:57:38 GMT
> * Honorable Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:
>
> standard pathnames are broken by design so not supported

according to the Christophe Rhodes' tests, the current development CLISP
is more compliant than CMUCL 18c wrt pathnames.

> These are not best efforts that fall short for lack of resources
> and that will be fixed given the resources. These are _intentional_
> violations. I call them "political bugs".

All differences between "clisp -ansi" and ANSI CL are due to lack of
resources.
We will gladly accept patches and constructive discussion towards full
ANSI compliance. Please subscribe to <clisp-list> and write there.
This has been stated so many times that I fail to see the reason for
your rudeness.

PS. I do love ANSI CL, and I don't think I need to be taught how to love.

--
Sam Steingold (http://www.podval.org/~sds)
MS: Brain off-line, please wait.

Daniel Barlow

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 12:07:27 PM8/31/01
to
Joe Nall <j...@nall.com> writes:

> installation is a thing of beauty. I'm sure that the major Lisp vendors
> have regression test suites - perhaps one would be willing to open
> source their suite to jump start such an effort.

There's some portion of a CL conformance test in CLOCC already. There
are also Christophe's Rhodes (work in progress) pathname tests which
were discussed here recently that could be integrated into that
framework; also there's the beginnings of a test suite for SBCL in
the SBCL source archive. Some of that will be SBCL specific, but I
think it includes at least some ansi conformance tests too.

So, sure it would be nice if one of the vendors were to contribute
towards this effort, but it's a project where users can work on an
equal footing too.

> Are there any Common Lisp test harness setups, like Perl's Test.pm, that
> might be used as a basis for package level self test?

There's XPTEST from Onshore (see CLiki) and there's RT in the CMU AI
Repo (which I would love someone to package for cCLan because then I
could remove the copy hidden inside db-sockets). I've also heard of
something called which may be called "CL Unit", but I can't find that
right now.

Kent M Pitman

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 12:59:37 PM8/31/01
to
Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org> writes:

> All differences between "clisp -ansi" and ANSI CL are due to lack of
> resources. We will gladly accept patches and constructive

> discussion towards full .ANSI compliance.

This is certainly nice to hear said.

Btw, in discussing the issue of conformance, and the related issue of
whether :ANSI-CL should be on the *FEATURES* list, that's why we
created the notion of "purporting to conform". Without this, every
time you discovered a bug, you'd have to remove the :ANSI-CL feature
until you fixed it. To me, at least, this underscores that compliance
is to some extent just an issue of "intent" as much as anything else.
I've often said informally that what it means for an implementation
to conform is to happily accept bug reports.

Btw, I don't know to what extent clisp is merely "missing functionality"
and to what extent it's repairing a prior set of deviations from standard
functionality, but if it's mostly the former, then claiming to conform to
a subset is perhaps the appropriate interim terminology. (I'm quite
curious how far it is from being totally conforming, actually, though I
suppose I should go check out the web site. I think I tried to do that
the other day, but the site wasn't responding...)

Coby Beck

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 12:44:12 PM8/31/01
to

"Erik Naggum" <er...@naggum.net> wrote in message
news:32082262...@naggum.net...

>
>
> However, there is something _very_ seriously wrong with the Common Lisp
> community. People _in_ the community feel that it is perfectly OK to
> debase, denigrate, ridicule, denounce, disrespect, insult, defame, and
> smear Common Lisp. Instead of telling people how great a language we
> have, some certifiable nutcases spend their time propagandizing and
> agitating against the language, creating stupid deviant versions and
> breaking with the language as defined, doing something other than what
> was agreed upon, and introducing "features" that cause the knowledge
base
> for the language to be polluted and the skill of knowing Common Lisp to
> be nigh worthless when faced with individual Common Lisp systems.

While I hope this is an exageration of the reality I agree there is this
tendency and it is a negative one though it need not be. I think it stems
from two things, one a good thing one not.

The bad: people are letting the pressure of mainstream opinion beat them
down. Even if they like lisp, they get so much flack from others who know
nothing about it, they feel they have to put it down themselves. A "herd
mentality"takes over, even though they want to be different, they are afraid
of what it really requires.

The good: lisp people tend to be the kind of people who question things and
think hard about elegance and the Right Thing (certainly compared to most of
the other large programming communities) People who question find fault.
But I agree with Erik that this can be done in a constructive and positive
way without "throwing out the baby with the bathwater"


> Can we do this? Can people who are still enthusiastic about Common Lisp
> the language, even after reading a 20K long news article, please raise a
> hand and express their feelings? Can you stand up and say "I _love_
> Common Lisp!" in a crowd and feel proud of yourself?

I _Love_ Common Lisp!

(I am also blessed to have worked with it in my last two jobs as well as my
current position!)


> I actually believe thare are enough Common Lisp enthusiasts out there to
> make a difference

I believe so... time will tell.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 1:06:58 PM8/31/01
to
* Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org>

> All differences between "clisp -ansi" and ANSI CL are due to lack of
> resources.

This is a

> We will gladly accept patches and constructive discussion towards full
> ANSI compliance. Please subscribe to <clisp-list> and write there.
> This has been stated so many times that I fail to see the reason for
> your rudeness.

I installed the latest available version of CLISP for GNU/Debian unstable
because I was going bananas over the incompetence of a web designer who
was supposed to help us get a secure news server with a web interface for
user registration up and running in two weeks and I needed something to
help save the day. I am quite happy to say that CLISP saved the project
and let me produce web pages efficiently and correctly, and I had no clue
to how this should be done using available tools when I started, which is
why I _had_ to use Common Lisp so I at least had some firm ground under
my feet. However, what I quoted from the man page is precisely among the
things that have put me off CLISP for many years. Remove the denigratory
remarks about how ANSI CL is broken and how standard behavior "is not
useful for actual everyday work". If I want somebody's snotty opinions
on the standard, I shall ask for it. I do not want them in a man page
for a purportedly conforming implementation that I want to use because I
am excited about the language. This has to do with the _professionalism_
in the community, not with conformance or how right anyone are about
their comments. Professionals set aside their personal opinions when
they do their work and focus on the work at hand.

///

Kevin Layer

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 1:38:46 PM8/31/01
to
Raymond Toy <t...@rtp.ericsson.se> writes:

> And I don't consider it free. It used to be free, but nowadays it's
> really an evaluation copy. Use it, evaluate it, and then either buy
> it or throw it away after some fixed period. Unlike Lispworks, where
> you can use it "forever" (I think).

Actually, we recently revised http://www.franz.com/downloads/ to
remove the 6 month limit. Also, the 30-day renewal period has been
changed to 60 days (automatically renewed via a program).

Kevin

Sam Steingold

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 1:45:46 PM8/31/01
to
> * In message <sfwelps...@world.std.com>
> * On the subject of "Re: What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community"
> * Sent on Fri, 31 Aug 2001 16:59:37 GMT

> * Honorable Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> writes:
>
> Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org> writes:
>
> > All differences between "clisp -ansi" and ANSI CL are due to lack of
> > resources. We will gladly accept patches and constructive
> > discussion towards full .ANSI compliance.
>
> Btw, I don't know to what extent clisp is merely "missing
> functionality" and to what extent it's repairing a prior set of
> deviations from standard functionality,

the former.
please see http://clisp.cons.org/impnotes.html#intro for the list of
symbols missing from CLISP (actually, the pretty-printer has been almost
implemented in the CVS, so the list will go down with the next release).
see http://clisp.cons.org/impnotes.html#ansi for the explanation of what
the -ansi option is about.

the page is accessible to me right now.
sorry about the outage (even though it was not my fault :-)

--
Sam Steingold (http://www.podval.org/~sds)

Support Israel's right to defend herself! <http://www.i-charity.com/go/israel>
Read what the Arab leaders say to their people on <http://www.memri.org/>
Marriage is the sole cause of divorce.

Bijan Parsia

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 1:15:50 PM8/31/01
to
On 31 Aug 2001, Richard Krush wrote:

> On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 05:57:38 GMT, Erik Naggum wrote:
> >
> > [... 9 pages of interesting thoughts and statements ...]
> >
[snip]
> other people about LISP and how great a language it is. The key word to all
> that, however, is "language". In your article you made an impression

Hmm. You need to get the actors right: "While reading your article I
formed the impression..."

> that
> LISP is a religion or at least a philosophy

Even if you got this "impression", it's clearly not what he
wrote. Furthermore, it's clearly possible for Erik to have written what he
wrote WITHOUT him thinking that (since, after all, he doesn't think
that, AFICT, and he wrote that article; *ad esse, ad posse est*).

(Furthermore, I think he went out of his way to convey his lack of that
belief.)

> and that un-believers (so-called
> "destructive/rabid nut-cases" or "negative morons") are sent by the satan.

No, if they were *just* sent from Satan, and had the wide array of talents
being in Satan's employ required *and used them to promote Lisp and its
community*, or merely refrained from harming it, I think Erik would
embrace them. Gingerly perhaps, depending on the number of infectious
lesions on their skin or psyches, but embraced them nevertheless.

> The problem here (IMHO, of course) is that LISP is _not_ a religion and it
> _not_ even a philosophy, instead it _is_ a tool and it _has_ good and bad
> sides.

Even if Erik had argued the contrary, what you say is rather
tendentious. Read Kent Pitman's aritcle on languages as political
parties. Even if you *don't agree*, I don't see that you get to *blindly*
and *without evidence* assert the contrary.

In any case, Erik wasn't talking about Common Lisp, the language
*alone*. He was discussing the community of developers, designers, users,
enthusiaists, venders, writers, etc. that have have the langauge more or
less as a focal point, or, at least, a principle shared concern.

That community isn't a tool. Indeed, for everyone in, of, or around that
community to treat it as a tool, and a tool they don't care to treat
properly, would be rather damaging.

> Moreover, people who choose to be blind when it comes to the bad sides

Unlike Erik...

> and to the fact that standards change and new needs arrive,

Unlike Erik...

> _can_ be called
> "religious zealots".

Unlike Erik...

...but even so, why call them religious zealots? On most issues it's not
at all clear cut (i.e., that the feature is bad, that it's so bad we must
thrash it and anyone who's thought about using it immediately, and that
there's a superior alternative so much so that everyone should...nay
*MUST* adopt it...NOW).

(If you *really have* such a superior alternative, most of the time it
should stand on it's own. I.e., if it's so great just *show* it, maybe
talk it up. I don't see that it actually helps, except in limited cases,
to trash what it purports to replace. Indeed, Erik said this only about
10,000 times :))

And why call them religious zealots? Interestingly, Common Lisp *is* born
of a philosophy...one that Kent (and others) have explained over and
over. Roughly, "a common, standard base that we all can agree to live
with". I think it reflects well on the community that embraced this
philosophy that the result is *also* engaging, interesting, practical, and
worth studying and use and getting enthusiastic about.

Alas, the ANSI Smalltalk standard hasn't similarly succeeded (although,
it's sorta young in that cycle). Partly, it defined so much less, and
*didn't* standardize a lot of the stuff that Smalltalkers get enthused
about (graphics, guis, the ide, etc.) So we tend to have different
rallying points (Camp Smalltalk, mostly; roughly, a party, often
associated with a conference, where a bunch of Smalltalkers get together
and work on cross-dialect/implementation projects; a report from the
latest: http://www.smalltalkconsulting.com/html/CSEssen2001_1.html; the
CSt wiki: http://wiki.cs.uiuc.edu/CampSmalltalk).

[snip hammer stuff]

FWIW, if you thought you were being simple, sensible, and consilitory, and
even if what you wrote up to this point *was* so, I would find the hammer
stuff irritating were I in Erik's place. I mean, really.


Cheers,
Bijan Parsia.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 2:01:30 PM8/31/01
to
* Sam Steingold

> All differences between "clisp -ansi" and ANSI CL are due to lack of
> resources.

* Erik Naggum
> This is a

... very nice thing to hear.

Don't know why that was so hard to say. :)

///

Christophe Rhodes

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 2:09:50 PM8/31/01
to
Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org> writes:

> > * Honorable Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:
> >
> > standard pathnames are broken by design so not supported
>
> according to the Christophe Rhodes' tests, the current development CLISP
> is more compliant than CMUCL 18c wrt pathnames.

... and I hope I haven't made any mistakes.

Christophe

[ Please, read the code (and comments); patches and/or rewrites welcome]

Erann Gat

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 2:44:13 PM8/31/01
to
Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> wrote in message news:<32082546...@naggum.net>...

> * Alain Picard <api...@optushome.com.au>
> > But, now, Erik, do you _really_ think you are helping your own cause by
> > calling people "moron" and "corpses"? Don't tell me whether or not they
> > _are_, I don't care about that. I mean, calling people that _publicly_,
> > do you really think that helps? Maybe it does. Shock therapy, who
> > knows. But I'm not very convinced.
>
> Shock therapy it is. But also an attempt to show those who denounce the
> language and the great stuff that I love and want to use what it feels
> like to be denounced. Believe you me, they recognize this and they do
> feel it.

But why sbould they have to be shown what it feels like to be
denounced? They didn't denounce *you*, they denounced (a tiny part
of) a programming language.

Your behavior reminds me of a child on a schoolyard playground.
Someone makes a disparaging comment about your favorite toy, and you
respond by hitting them and throwing a tantrum. You've been throwing
these tantrums for years now. Have they helped?

Let me try to short-circuit some of this conversation by anticipating
your answer. You are going to say something along the lines of: "Yes,
they've helped, because they drive away fucking morons like you, Erann
Gat, who clutter up this newsgroup with mindless drivel about
politeness and false accusations of neo-naziism."

Fine. (You're right, by the way. You actually did drive me away.)
But while you mold this newsgroup into your perfect little cadre of
Erik Naggum sycophants the language you claim to love so much is
withering and dieing, and you don't even notice. You talk about "the
Lisp vendors." Well, I've got news for you, Erik Naggum: there is
only one Lisp vendor left. All the others are out of business.

> languages thrive only when people love them

You are wrong, Erik Naggum. Do you really think C++ and Java thrive
because people love them? Ridiculous. Languages thrive because
people *use* them, not because people love them. So Erik, please stop
trying to convince people to love Common Lisp. Your brand of love is
poison.

Erann Gat
g...@flownet.com

Sam Steingold

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 2:47:54 PM8/31/01
to
> * In message <32082664...@naggum.net>
> * On the subject of "Re: What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community"
> * Sent on Fri, 31 Aug 2001 17:06:58 GMT

> * Honorable Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:
>
> * Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org>
> > All differences between "clisp -ansi" and ANSI CL are due to lack of
> > resources.
>
> This is a

...what?

> I installed the latest available version of CLISP for GNU/Debian

> unstable [...] to help save the day. I am quite happy to say that


> CLISP saved the project and let me produce web pages efficiently and

> correctly,...

I am quite happy to hear this.

> Professionals set aside their personal opinions when
> they do their work and focus on the work at hand.

exactly.

so when you have "work at hand", you use CLISP (or ACL, or whatever tool
you want) and act as a professional, and when writing to c.l.l, you
badmouth the people who brought it to you. makes sense: you are not at
work and you do not have to act as a professional. :-)
BTW, why don't you direct at least some of your venom to GCL?
It does not even purport to comply!

As to the passages on the CLISP pages which disturb you so much - well,
CLISP is a large project, and I am not done with it yet. :-)
Please send patches, to the pages and to the CLISP sources.

--
Sam Steingold (http://www.podval.org/~sds)

Support Israel's right to defend herself! <http://www.i-charity.com/go/israel>
Read what the Arab leaders say to their people on <http://www.memri.org/>

Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 2:56:04 PM8/31/01
to
* g...@flownet.com (Erann Gat)

> But why sbould they have to be shown what it feels like to be denounced?
> They didn't denounce *you*, they denounced (a tiny part of) a programming
> language.

No, Erann, that is where you are wrong.

> Your behavior reminds me of a child on a schoolyard playground.

I am quite sure it does. Children in schoolyard playgrounds also appeal
to a sense of justice, they have an elaborate sense of fairness, and they
believe in such trivial things as standardization processes. What things
remind you of says something very fundamental about yourself. If I were
you, I would have chosen to tell people I was reminded of something else.

> Someone makes a disparaging comment about your favorite toy, and you
> respond by hitting them and throwing a tantrum. You've been throwing
> these tantrums for years now. Have they helped?

This is the level at which you would operate. I am so glad I am not like
that.

> Let me try to short-circuit some of this conversation by anticipating
> your answer. You are going to say something along the lines of: "Yes,
> they've helped, because they drive away fucking morons like you, Erann
> Gat, who clutter up this newsgroup with mindless drivel about politeness
> and false accusations of neo-naziism."

Amazing. What kind of immature behavior does _this_ remind you of?

> Fine. (You're right, by the way. You actually did drive me away.)
> But while you mold this newsgroup into your perfect little cadre of
> Erik Naggum sycophants the language you claim to love so much is
> withering and dieing, and you don't even notice. You talk about "the
> Lisp vendors." Well, I've got news for you, Erik Naggum: there is
> only one Lisp vendor left. All the others are out of business.

I am so delighted that you actually managed to get the ideas I tried to
communicate and were not stuck in your old rut and just dug up some old
dirt you could throw at me. That would have been so -- childish.

> You are wrong, Erik Naggum. Do you really think C++ and Java thrive
> because people love them? Ridiculous. Languages thrive because people
> *use* them, not because people love them. So Erik, please stop trying to
> convince people to love Common Lisp. Your brand of love is poison.

I love you, too, Erann Gat. Now, is your recess over, yet?

///

Christophe Rhodes

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 2:57:28 PM8/31/01
to
Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org> writes:

> BTW, why don't you direct at least some of your venom to GCL?
> It does not even purport to comply!

If it doesn't purport to comply, it's not bound by the standard.

Now, if only it would drop the "CL" bit, too...

Christophe

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 3:00:48 PM8/31/01
to
* Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org>

> so when you have "work at hand", you use CLISP (or ACL, or whatever tool
> you want) and act as a professional, and when writing to c.l.l, you
> badmouth the people who brought it to you.

Are you incapable of understanding that _you_ have done something that
you could very easily correct to avoid all criticism? Is that you want
to _insist_ on badmouthing the standard that you fail to understand that
you _deserve_ this criticism?

> BTW, why don't you direct at least some of your venom to GCL?

Because they do not gratuitously defame that which they purport to
conform to.

> It does not even purport to comply!

Bingo! Please get the idea.

> As to the passages on the CLISP pages which disturb you so much - well,
> CLISP is a large project, and I am not done with it yet. :-) Please send
> patches, to the pages and to the CLISP sources.

You know what fix.

///

Raymond Toy

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 3:25:08 PM8/31/01
to
>>>>> "Kevin" == Kevin Layer <layer@--you-know-what-to-remove--.franz.com> writes:

Kevin> Raymond Toy <t...@rtp.ericsson.se> writes:
>> And I don't consider it free. It used to be free, but nowadays it's
>> really an evaluation copy. Use it, evaluate it, and then either buy
>> it or throw it away after some fixed period. Unlike Lispworks, where
>> you can use it "forever" (I think).

Kevin> Actually, we recently revised http://www.franz.com/downloads/ to
Kevin> remove the 6 month limit. Also, the 30-day renewal period has been
Kevin> changed to 60 days (automatically renewed via a program).

Cool! I don't get to use Linux and lisp too often, so I don't keep
up.

Ray

Raymond Toy

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 3:22:00 PM8/31/01
to
>>>>> "Christophe" == Christophe Rhodes <cs...@cam.ac.uk> writes:

Christophe> Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org> writes:
>> BTW, why don't you direct at least some of your venom to GCL?
>> It does not even purport to comply!

Christophe> If it doesn't purport to comply, it's not bound by the standard.

Christophe> Now, if only it would drop the "CL" bit, too...

But I think it does claim to be a CLtL1 compatible and I think it is
reasonably close to that.

Sad to say, but Bill Schelter, the prime mover behind GCL and maxima,
has recently passed away.

Ray

Sam Steingold

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 3:40:18 PM8/31/01
to
> * In message <32082732...@naggum.net>

> * On the subject of "Re: What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community"
> * Sent on Fri, 31 Aug 2001 19:00:48 GMT

> * Honorable Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:
>
> Are you incapable of understanding that _you_ have done something
> that you could very easily correct to avoid all criticism?

criticism, yes. I welcome criticism, especially on <clisp-list> which
is more accessible to me that c.l.l.

insults - no. I think your choice of words is pretty insulting.

> > It does not even purport to comply!
> Bingo! Please get the idea.

but it is _called_ "Common Lisp"! :-)

> > As to the passages on the CLISP pages which disturb you so much - well,
> > CLISP is a large project, and I am not done with it yet. :-) Please send
> > patches, to the pages and to the CLISP sources.
>
> You know what fix.

maybe, but how am I supposed to know what changes would satisfy you?! :-)

--
Sam Steingold (http://www.podval.org/~sds)
Support Israel's right to defend herself! <http://www.i-charity.com/go/israel>
Read what the Arab leaders say to their people on <http://www.memri.org/>

If your VCR is still blinking 12:00, you don't want Linux.

Bulent Murtezaoglu

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 3:52:59 PM8/31/01
to
>>>>> "SS" == Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org> writes:
[...]
EN> You know what fix.

SS> maybe, but how am I supposed to know what changes would
SS> satisfy you?! :-)

I'll hazard a guess:

(From the clisp man page dated 31 May 2001, on Debian sid, v2.27)

...
-ansi ANSI CL compliant: Comply with the ANSI CL specifi­
cation even on those issues where ANSI CL is bro­
ken. This option is provided for maximum portabil­
ity of Lisp programs, and is not useful for actual
everyday work. It sets the symbol macro *ansi* to
t. See impnotes.html, section "Maximum ANSI CL
compliance", for details.
...

the fix could be

-ansi ANSI CL compliant. See impnotes.html, section
"Maximum ANSI CL compliance", for details.


cheers,

B<I am blind to emoticons>M

Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 4:01:54 PM8/31/01
to
* Sam Steingold <s...@gnu.org>

> insults - no. I think your choice of words is pretty insulting.

Fine, consider the fact that I am insulted by your manual page.

> maybe, but how am I supposed to know what changes would satisfy you?! :-)

Wipe that grin off your face, think, and you will know.

///

Paolo Amoroso

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Aug 31, 2001, 4:01:50 PM8/31/01
to
On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 09:35:44 -0500, Joe Nall <j...@nall.com> wrote:

> Are there any Common Lisp test harness setups, like Perl's Test.pm, that
> might be used as a basis for package level self test?

Check the ANSI test suite which comes with CLOCC. I'm not familiar with it,
so I don't know how complete it is.


Paolo
--
EncyCMUCLopedia * Extensive collection of CMU Common Lisp documentation
http://web.mclink.it/amoroso/ency/README
[http://cvs2.cons.org:8000/cmucl/doc/EncyCMUCLopedia/]

Richard Krush

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 5:01:02 PM8/31/01
to
On Fri, 31 Aug 2001 10:55:53 GMT, Erik Naggum wrote:
> Obviously, you did not get the message at all. Let me just hope somebody
> else does.
>

In that case I heartily apologize, I will reread your article and try to
understand what you really meant.

Regards,
rk

Kent M Pitman

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 5:26:09 PM8/31/01
to
Bulent Murtezaoglu <b...@acm.org> writes:

By the way, if the commetn about "not useful for actual everyday work"
is really serious, I'd like to hear an explanation of that.

There are a few typos in the standard that tell you weird things like that
unless should work identically to when or something equally dumb. Everyone
disregards them, and even ANSI's definition of what may be fixed by editorial
change (without the need for a technical vote) is I think broad enough to
include stuff like this that is so blatantly wrong that everyone just knows
it and fixes it when they see it. I hope ANSI mode does not force compliance
with typos.

Beyond typos, though, I am unaware of any ANSI CL requirement which assures
that you won't be able to get work done, unless the implementor has made a
poor design choice. I could just be deficient in my understanding of the
implications of what we decided, but I would certainly like to hear that
elaborated.

(I'm assuming also that this is not a religious argument like that it's not
possible to write a fast XML implementation if you don't preserve case or
force it to lower, or something like that. But if it's that, I guess we
should all know it.)

Thomas F. Burdick

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 5:35:35 PM8/31/01
to
g...@flownet.com (Erann Gat) writes:

> Well, I've got news for you, Erik Naggum: there is only one Lisp
> vendor left. All the others are out of business.

Which one? Franz? Call me crazy, but I can think of several:
Xanalys, Digitool, Corman. There's also that rumored commercial fork
of CMUCL.

> You are wrong, Erik Naggum. Do you really think C++ and Java thrive
> because people love them? Ridiculous. Languages thrive because
> people *use* them, not because people love them.

That's why C++ thrives. I think Java thrives for a variety of
reasons. But who wants Lisp to thrive like those? Not me. I'd love
it if it thrives like Perl or Python. Those languages thrive because
of how much their users love them.

Janos Blazi

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Aug 31, 2001, 5:38:58 PM8/31/01
to
To say that all those who do not exactly share your opinion should be thrown
out of the community is an extremely dangerous thing and I hope there are
not many NGs where you can get way with this mentality.

This is the mentality of people who defend a fortress that is being
besieged. But in this case the problem is that people do not even care to
take a closer look at that fortress, let alone besieging it.

Now I do not love computer languages, I simply use them to solve problems
and probably most programmers think like me. This attitude does not make me
to an evil person.

Statements like 'Lisp is dying' cannot be made precise and making statements
about 'why it is dying' is absolutely useless as such statements could never
be falsified by experiment. So I do not understand, why you do not disregard
such statements.

Additionally, 'membership in the Lisp community' is not well defined either
so I do not see how such a 'membership' could end.

Your old friend,
Janos Blazi


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Erik Naggum

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 5:52:27 PM8/31/01
to
* "Janos Blazi" <jbl...@hotmail.com>

> To say that all those who do not exactly share your opinion should be
> thrown out of the community is an extremely dangerous thing and I hope
> there are not many NGs where you can get way with this mentality.

Nobody is even hinting at saying or meaning anything that stupid.

> Now I do not love computer languages, I simply use them to solve problems
> and probably most programmers think like me. This attitude does not make
> me to an evil person.

No, but it makes you an irrelevant person.

///

Sam Steingold

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 5:55:24 PM8/31/01
to
> * In message <sfwn14f...@world.std.com>

> * On the subject of "Re: What I want from my Common Lisp vendor and the Common Lisp community"
> * Sent on Fri, 31 Aug 2001 21:26:09 GMT

> * Honorable Kent M Pitman <pit...@world.std.com> writes:
>
> > -ansi ANSI CL compliant: Comply with the ANSI CL specifi­
> > cation even on those issues where ANSI CL is bro­
> > ken. This option is provided for maximum portabil­
> > ity of Lisp programs, and is not useful for actual
> > everyday work.
>
> By the way, if the commetn about "not useful for actual everyday work"
> is really serious, I'd like to hear an explanation of that.

this (unfortunate and now removed) comment is _very_ old
(from long before my days).

the only place where ANSI CL standard is (IMHO) deficient is readable
pathname printing: #p"" is ambiguous (#p".foo" can be #s(pathname :type
"foo") and #s(pathname :name ".foo")). the #s(pathname ...) (and
#s(logical-pathname)!) notation, while used in a couple of CLHS pages,
has not been standardised. any chance it ever will be?

--
Sam Steingold (http://www.podval.org/~sds)
Support Israel's right to defend herself! <http://www.i-charity.com/go/israel>
Read what the Arab leaders say to their people on <http://www.memri.org/>

Let us remember that ours is a nation of lawyers and order.

Duane Rettig

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 5:48:25 PM8/31/01
to
Erik Naggum <er...@naggum.net> writes:

> Can we do this? Can people who are still enthusiastic about Common Lisp
> the language, even after reading a 20K long news article, please raise a
> hand and express their feelings? Can you stand up and say "I _love_
> Common Lisp!" in a crowd and feel proud of yourself?

I love Common Lisp!

16 years ago I changed career directions in order to become
a part of this exciting, new version of one of the oldest
programming languages. I have never regretted a moment of it.

I am the current primary implementor/maintainer of the core
of Allegro CL. As such, it is my responsibility, under the
guidance of my manager Kevin Layer, to ensure that as much
as possible, we track the ANSI standard. When it is pointed
out to us that the standard is violated, we log a bug report
against that violation and prioritize it to fix it as soon as
possible. We also have a fairly extensive test suite, which we
are continually updating and enhancing; it ensures that those
bugs we fix to bring us ever closer to the standard remain
fixed.

Also as primary implementor/maintainer of the Allegro CL core,
I am committed to providing users with choices. I take this
mandate from my manager and from my Company, which as an
organization promotes the success of our customers by providing
choices to our customers. Where the Common Lisp spec fails to
specify such needed features as multiprocessing, foreign functions
interfaces, extensible streams implementations, locale and
internationalization support, etc, I am involved in the efforts
to bring those features to our customers, without sacrificing any
ansi compliance.

Of course, using such extensions make a user's code non-portable
to Common Lisp implementations from other vendors, but the
availability of these extensions is what gives the choice to
customers as to whether and how much portability to sacrifice
in order to get work done. Many of our customers choose to use
several versions of CL and to wrap non-portable extensions from
each vendor in macro packages they provide. However, whatever
the extension is, we always provide the choice to stay with pure
ANSI CL, with no usage of extensions or modifications, and to
thus remain perfectly portable between conforming ANSI CL
implementations.

I am passionate about Common Lisp. And I am grateful to my
employer, who allows me to be passionate about it, and to
have strong opinions about it without fear of retaliation.
I am also grateful to my colleagues at Franz, Inc., who are
very competent at what they do, and who are also very passionate
about Common Lisp. I am also amazed that such a large group
of developers as we have with such strong (and sometimes
opposing) opinions can work together, but we do it; we work
together every day. I think that we succeed because we have a
common goal, and what results is a vibrant product which meets
the needs of many more people than a more lackluster product
would meet.


--
Duane Rettig Franz Inc. http://www.franz.com/ (www)
1995 University Ave Suite 275 Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 548-3600; FAX: (510) 548-8253 du...@Franz.COM (internet)

Janos Blazi

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 6:03:29 PM8/31/01
to
> > Now I do not love computer languages, I simply use them to solve
problems
> > and probably most programmers think like me. This attitude does not make
> > me to an evil person.
>
> No, but it makes you an irrelevant person.

No human being is irrelevant. To say that somebody is irrelevant is callous.
But should you mean 'irrelevant to the Lisp community' so we are returning
to our starting point.

J. B.

Thomas F. Burdick

unread,
Aug 31, 2001, 6:09:10 PM8/31/01