Is LISP dying?

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Andrew Cooke

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Jul 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/10/99
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Hi,

Apologies for the attention grabbing title.

I'm from the UK, and self-taught as a software engineer - which
means that I've used a lot of C and Java, but have only used more
"academic" :-) languages in my spare time and, even if I had done
comp-sci, would have met Prolog and/or ML rather than Lisp.

Despite all that, I've recently decided to learn Lisp because it seems
to be one of the few languages that lets you use whatever
programming paradigm you choose, rather than forcing you in one
direction. I've ordered (and, today, received) Norvig's book on AI
which looks fascinating (I realise it may be out-of date in that it
doesn't contain "modern" AI, but it still seems like a nice book).

However - and forgive the preceding biography but it is intended to set
the ground and show this isn't flame-bait - I get the impression that
Lisp is on the way out. Now this is only a vague impression (more so
because, being in the UK which, whether we like it or not, is in Europe,
Lisp was never "in" here) - but with Harlequin going belly-up it seems
legitimate to ask: is Lisp a dying language?

If so, what is it's current level of use? And what next? Dylan?!
ML?!!! C++?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It strikes me as a unique and very powerful
language, so what went wrong?

By "dying" I mean in decline, I would guess it's still used more than
any other "second league" language (anything other than C, C++ and maybe
Java) - but for how long?

As I hope is obvious, I would be happy to be corrected!

Thanks,
Andrew

http://www.andrewcooke.free-online.co.uk/index.html


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
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Craig Brozefsky

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Jul 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/10/99
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Andrew Cooke <and...@andrewcooke.free-online.co.uk> writes:

> However - and forgive the preceding biography but it is intended to set
> the ground and show this isn't flame-bait - I get the impression that
> Lisp is on the way out. Now this is only a vague impression (more so
> because, being in the UK which, whether we like it or not, is in Europe,
> Lisp was never "in" here) - but with Harlequin going belly-up it seems
> legitimate to ask: is Lisp a dying language?

It's one of the oldest languages still in active use. Many
organizations and individuals are still using it. There are several
free implementations, including one in the public domain that is rather
good, and still several commercial vendors.

So, it has more commercial implementations than perl, python, and tcl,
put together. It's an ANSI standard (CommonLisp that is). It has
more free implementations than just about any other language except
scheme (a member of the Lisp family itself).

--
Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software http://www.red-bean.com/~craig
I say woe unto those who are wise in their own eyes, and yet
imprudent in 'dem outside -Sizzla

Lyman S. Taylor

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Jul 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/10/99
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Andrew Cooke wrote:
...

> direction. I've ordered (and, today, received) Norvig's book on AI
> which looks fascinating (I realise it may be out-of date in that it
> doesn't contain "modern" AI, but it still seems like a nice book).

It is a good book. Time will not cause that become untrue, just give it
more cohorts.


> Lisp is on the way out. Now this is only a vague impression (more so
> because, being in the UK which, whether we like it or not, is in Europe,
> Lisp was never "in" here) - but with Harlequin going belly-up it seems
> legitimate to ask: is Lisp a dying language?

My impression is that there a plethora of factors involved in Harlequin going "belly-up".
[ I'd label it as being in intensive care, a number of people recover
from being on the critical list. That isn't quite the same as being
in the morgue.]
"Lisp", "ML", and "Dylan", the languages, in and of themselves weren't the major cause of
these problems for Harlequin. Harlequin also had an "experimental" corportate
structure, for their relative size, which I surmise was also a factor.

There are dozens of ways to run your company out of business that have nothing
to do with whether you are providing a product/service that is viable.
The "lisp business" isn't a license to print money so if you stumble across one
of the dozen you may trip and fall.

Everyone keeps pointing the figure at the Language business. I get the impression
that the margins shrank, perhaps quickly, on the printing side of house too.
( there were likely cross subsidies, but whether they were "necessary" or not
is likely debatable) Harlequin isn't a publically accountable firm so what exactly
happened is somewhat a mystery.


> By "dying" I mean in decline, I would guess it's still used more than
> any other "second league" language (anything other than C, C++ and maybe
> Java) - but for how long?

"second league"? In terms of number of lines in commerical use I
imagine Cobol puts all of the above into the "second league". It doesn't
have no where near the "hype" factor going for it though. So perhaps it is
a matter of perception.

This all has be taken in perspective. If C++ and Java grow at 50% per year and
"Lisp" grows at 20% per year is Lisp "dying"? Some will say yes. Possibly
because the "biggest herd" always wins or that the language business is some sort
of zero sum game. So growth and overall percentage is all that ever counts. Others
will say no. All ecosystems have niches; being in a niche doesn't mean you're
"dying". "Lisp" has a proven track record as a long term survivor.

IMHO, if "Harlequin" does disappear and no new competitor pops up to replace it then
"Lisp" isn't very healthly. A reasonable amount of competition keeps the vendor(s)
honest. Although "Lisp" has more then enough "external" competition to contend with.


---

Lyman

nco...@bridgetrix.com

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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>
> IMHO, if "Harlequin" does disappear and no new competitor pops up to
replace it then
> "Lisp" isn't very healthly. A reasonable amount of competition keeps
the vendor(s)
> honest. Although "Lisp" has more then enough "external" competition to
contend with.


A Harlequin tech support representative I've been corresponding with is
under the impression that they'll be bought up soon and continue with Lisp
virtually uninterrupted.

As to the first topic, I'm just about to start a job search and have
been informed there aren't any Lisp jobs out there.

Neil Cohen
Bridge Trix
Producers of the Bobby Wolff Bridge Mentoring Series
http://www.bridgetrix.com

Andi Kleen

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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Craig Brozefsky <cr...@red-bean.com> writes:
>
> So, it has more commercial implementations than perl, python, and tcl,
> put together. It's an ANSI standard (CommonLisp that is). It has
> more free implementations than just about any other language except
> scheme (a member of the Lisp family itself).

<offtopic and doesn't really matter, but anyways>

I would guess there are more Forths than Schemes.


-Andi
--
This is like TV. I don't like TV.

Rob Warnock

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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Andi Kleen <ak...@muc.de> wrote:
+---------------

| I would guess there are more Forths than Schemes.
+---------------

Really??? There are dozens & dozens of Schemes[*] that *I* know of...
How many Forths are there? Even a dozen?


-Rob

[*] This is one of the frequent criticisms of Scheme! ;-}

-----
Rob Warnock, 8L-855 rp...@sgi.com
Applied Networking http://reality.sgi.com/rpw3/
Silicon Graphics, Inc. Phone: 650-933-1673
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy. FAX: 650-933-0511
Mountain View, CA 94043 PP-ASEL-IA

Martin Rodgers

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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In article <7m9qk7$8c...@fido.engr.sgi.com>, rp...@rigden.engr.sgi.com
says...

> Really??? There are dozens & dozens of Schemes[*] that *I* know of...
> How many Forths are there? Even a dozen?

If we only count the systems that a single programmer knows, we might
dismiss any language as irrelevant. The numbers argument is always a
weak one (see my final point, below). The numbers only matter when you
can count the number of implementations on the fingers of one hand and
such implementations require considerable effort to create.

I've known Forth programmers who create a Forth just like sneezing. I
wouldn't be suprised if there are Scheme implementors who can do the
same thing, but in Forth there's a very fine line between using Forth
and implementing Forth. (It used to take me about 3 weeks to create a
Forth from scratch, and I'm no expert.) In Lisp, we tend to build the
language up rather than down. In Forth, we go up _and_ down.

Glancing over my monitor at my bookcase, I spy a book that features a
series of Scheme implementations, none of them very big. If we're
talking about commercial and freeware Forths, that's another matter.
Systems like that tend to need documentation.

It looks to me like Forth is as much in decline as Common Lisp and
Scheme, and neither language is in danger of dying. Perhaps we should
be counting programmers instead of systems, but that's much harder to
do. Comparing web/ftp logs might be easier.

All I know is, everytime somebody asks if (or claims that) a language
is dead, dozens of programmers jump up and shout about how healthy it
is, and how many people are using it. Then somebody mentions Cobol.
--
Remove insect from address | You can never browse enough
will write code that writes code that writes code for food

William Tanksley

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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On 11 Jul 1999 10:11:19 GMT, Rob Warnock wrote:
>Andi Kleen <ak...@muc.de> wrote:
>+---------------
>| I would guess there are more Forths than Schemes.
>+---------------

>Really??? There are dozens & dozens of Schemes[*] that *I* know of...


>How many Forths are there? Even a dozen?

Grin... There's at least one Forth for every Forth programmer. It's
almost a rite of passage -- to be a Forth programmer you have to implement
your own Forth. Preferably experimental in nature, but otherwise
compatible.

With the arrival of ANSI this slowed down; now that Chuck's mentioned
Machine Forth it's sped back up again.

>-Rob

--
-William "Billy" Tanksley

Christopher B. Browne

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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On 11 Jul 1999 10:11:19 GMT, Rob Warnock <rp...@rigden.engr.sgi.com> posted:

>Andi Kleen <ak...@muc.de> wrote:
>+---------------
>| I would guess there are more Forths than Schemes.
>+---------------
>
>Really??? There are dozens & dozens of Schemes[*] that *I* know of...
>How many Forths are there? Even a dozen?

There were a half-dozen Forths for Atari 8 bit, and about a half-dozen
for Atari ST.

I count 28 distinct implementations at
<http://www.forth.org/compilers.html>, and that list is decidedly not
comprehensive.
--
Lisp Users:
Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.
cbbr...@ntlug.org- <http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/lsf.html>

Stig Hemmer

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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:Is LISP dying?

This is a frequently asked question, even if not a Frequently Asked
Question.

A short summary:

Lisp took a hit when the "AI wave" faded away, but is recovering
nicely.

The reason Lisp seems so small is that the rest of the computer
industry is so enourmous.

Stig Hemmer,
Jack of a Few Trades.

Christopher R. Barry

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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nco...@bridgetrix.com writes:

> As to the first topic, I'm just about to start a job search and have
> been informed there aren't any Lisp jobs out there.

There are hundreds of thousands of Lisp jobs out there. It's a matter
of your perspective. Just because when you look through ads all you
see is "BS with 3 years experience and strong C, C++, Perl and Java
skills..." doesn't necessarily mean that you can't use Lisp for the
job, or at least part of the job.

Also, it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission....

Christopher

Eric O'Dell

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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On 11 Jul 1999 19:47:05 +0200, Stig Hemmer <st...@pvv.ntnu.no> wrote:

>The reason Lisp seems so small is that the rest of the computer
>industry is so enourmous.

I'm glad someone pointed this out. If language X used to be used for
25% of all applications (as if we have _any_ way of acquiring reliable
statistics like that), but is now being used for only 5% of all
applications, one might be tempted to say it is in decline --- but not
if the number of applications has grown by, say, 500%.

Advocates of the popular languages/methodologies du jour like to say
that their favorite language will soon eliminate everything else, the
current offenders being C++ and Java. But this is pure bull; the
number of languages and methodologies continues to grow, which is,
IMHO, a sign of the increasing diversity and maturity of the field.

If COBOL can persist as long as it has, it's a safe bet that our
grandchildren will be debugging C programs.


-E.

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
| "I have come a very long way from myself only to realize that |
| identity is a skill and self-betrayal is a habit. Once lost, the |
| former is very hard to regain; once gained, the latter is very |
| hard to lose." ---I. Corvus, _The Europe of Our Dreams_ |
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Eric O'Dell

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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On Sun, 11 Jul 1999 18:58:38 GMT, cba...@2xtreme.net (Christopher R.
Barry) wrote:

>There are hundreds of thousands of Lisp jobs out there. It's a matter
>of your perspective. Just because when you look through ads all you
>see is "BS with 3 years experience and strong C, C++, Perl and Java
>skills..." doesn't necessarily mean that you can't use Lisp for the
>job, or at least part of the job.
>
>Also, it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission....

This is true. I just finished a contract job using C when what was
requested was Perl. In this particular case, my employer had no
in-house programmers, and it was easy to persuade him that a C
programmer would be easier to find down the road than a Perl
programmer. (After I convinced him that CGI scripts don't have to be
written in Perl, of course, which took some doing.)

Smaller shops are more open to this sort of thing than big corporate
installations, but there are exceptions everywhere. The ads in the
paper are often discouraging, but then again, they are often written
by HR personnel who are just repeating buzzwords.

Johan Kullstam

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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James Hague <jha...@dadgum.com> writes:

> Still, I think Lisp has some trouble because it's not as easy to use
> for shippable desktop applications as, say, C. Most of the free
> Lisp systems tend to be rather large with little thought given to
> turnkey applications. The best commercial Lisp on the
> market--Allegro Common Lisp--isn't royalty free. On the other hand,
> desktop applications are a small part of the overall picture.

what do you mean desktop application?

lisp suffers because it's hard to make hello world type starter
programs that stand alone in a lisp hostile operating system, e.g.,
unix, microsoft dos/windows[1].

lisp tends to seem large and awkward in the context of unix. C has
run-time library support and all kinds of operating system hooks. the
comparison is unfair, however, a completely fair appraisal is
unrealistic.

if you mean by desktop applications things like spreadsheets and
wordprocessors, then i would think that lisp would be the perfect
language. these applications are large and complex in the first
place. lisp is good at large and complex. a lisp run-time would be
lost in the noise. consider how well emacs works for text. now
imagine a lisp based wordprocessor. unfortunately, no one uses lisp
for these but that is more out of ignorance than sound judgement imho.

[1] (format t "hello world~%") is certainly easy. the hard part is
getting the operating system to cooperate in loading and launching
lisp to process this.

--
J o h a n K u l l s t a m
[kull...@ne.mediaone.net]
Don't Fear the Penguin!

Pierre R. Mai

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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nco...@bridgetrix.com writes:

> As to the first topic, I'm just about to start a job search and have
> been informed there aren't any Lisp jobs out there.

Hmmm, there was a job ad on here a couple of days ago. Last time I
had a look at the offerings of a popular Job search engine over here,
I had no problem finding 3-5 jobs featuring Lisp here in Europe.

So I think there are a number of Lisp jobs out there. OTOH you
probably have to be more flexible to take advantage of them
(i.e. relocating, changing areas of interest, etc.), than for many
other languages that are a tad more popular.

Regs, Pierre.

--
Pierre Mai <pm...@acm.org> PGP and GPG keys at your nearest Keyserver
"One smaller motivation which, in part, stems from altruism is Microsoft-
bashing." [Microsoft memo, see http://www.opensource.org/halloween1.html]

Johan Kullstam

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Jul 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/11/99
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jos...@lavielle.com (Rainer Joswig) writes:

> In article <m2g12vd...@sophia.axel.nom>, Johan Kullstam <kull...@ne.mediaone.net> reiterated false information:


>
> > lisp suffers because it's hard to make hello world type starter
> > programs that stand alone in a lisp hostile operating system, e.g.,
> > unix, microsoft dos/windows[1].
>

> Have you ever tried? LWW? ACL? Golden CL? CLOE? LW? LCL?
> Eclipse CL? Clisp? GCL? CMU CL? CLICC? MCL? Chestnut CL?
> Corman Lisp? Exper Common Lisp? Procyon Common Lisp? L?
> Codemist Common Lisp? ECoLisp? LinkLisp? ...?

> You mean *all* these Lisp system have been developed
> without making it easy to develop applications?

i use linux and windows nt. i've tried CMUCL, clisp and ACL5. i find
that they are all awkward at producing a hello world application.
sure i can open up a lisp and type (format t "hello world") or (load
"hello-world") and then run something. sometimes, i can put
#!/usr/bin/lisp at the top of a lisp script. some lisps get upset
about lines beginning with #!. in any event, they (at least CMUCL,
clisp and trial ACL5) don't produce a stand alone binary i can copy to
someone. maybe i am doing something wrong.

i am not trying to run anyone down. i just started using lisp about
6-7 months ago and i really like it. it's just that unix and windows
are set up to support C and C++. e.g., C has a largish libc these
days. it's pretty much always in core and therefore no one pays any
attention to it.

> > lisp tends to seem large and awkward in the context of unix.
>

> Have you ever tried? We are doing it all the time.

i use lisp for lots of stuff. i just wish i had an operating system
which offered better integration with lisp. perhaps i am missing some
things i could do? is there a lisp-howto for linux out there? i mean
paul graham's books, the hyperspec, steele's book, the cmucl user
manual, acls docs are great. however i haven't found a good low level
nitty gritty here's how you use emacs, here's how you get a bash shell
in linux to launch a lisp program, when should you clobber and restart
your lisp listener, how many lisps do you need going at once &c.

> > now imagine a lisp based wordprocessor. unfortunately, no one uses lisp
> > for these
>

> No one? How do you know?
>
> An example: Ever heard of Interleaf? From the Interleaf FAQ:

no, i had never heard of interleaf. thanks.

> 1.1. What is Interleaf?

[snip]

> That you don't have heard about publishing applications using Lisp
> doesn't mean that they don't exist (-> Schematext, Concordia, ...).

nod. thanks for the info.

Rainer Joswig

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
to
In article <m2g12vd...@sophia.axel.nom>, Johan Kullstam <kull...@ne.mediaone.net> reiterated false information:

> lisp suffers because it's hard to make hello world type starter
> programs that stand alone in a lisp hostile operating system, e.g.,
> unix, microsoft dos/windows[1].

Have you ever tried? LWW? ACL? Golden CL? CLOE? LW? LCL?
Eclipse CL? Clisp? GCL? CMU CL? CLICC? MCL? Chestnut CL?
Corman Lisp? Exper Common Lisp? Procyon Common Lisp? L?
Codemist Common Lisp? ECoLisp? LinkLisp? ...?

You mean *all* these Lisp system have been developed
without making it easy to develop applications?

> lisp tends to seem large and awkward in the context of unix.

Have you ever tried? We are doing it all the time.

> now imagine a lisp based wordprocessor. unfortunately, no one uses lisp
> for these

No one? How do you know?

An example: Ever heard of Interleaf? From the Interleaf FAQ:

1.1. What is Interleaf?

Interleaf, Inc. provides software and services to allow organizations
to build, integrate and manage document systems. Interleaf software
covers the full range of document processes: accessing information,
developing text and graphic documents, putting them through their
review and revision processes, distributing them electronically or on
paper, and managing the entire process.

"Interleaf 6" is a document authoring and composition package. It
provides an integrated set of tools for creating compound documents:
word processing, graphics, data-driven business charts, tables,
equations, image editing, automated page layout, book building-
including automatic index and TOC, conditional document assembly. It
includes several features engineered to support the production of large
and complex document sets, including: centralized control over parts
or all of a document (format and/or content), global search and
replace/change on individual graphics objects regardless of specific
orientation or position, revision management.

Also available (on some platforms) is the optional Developer's Toolkit
(DTK) for customizing or extending the capabilities of the above
authoring tool. Developer's Toolkit is used to write programs in
Interleaf Lisp. Interleaf Lisp is similar to CommonLISP, but it also
contains an extensive set of classes, methods, and functions for
examining and changing almost all Interleaf objects, including
documents and their contents. DTK includes an editor, debugger,
compiler, listener, interpreter, and on-line documentation. Lisp code
developed with DTK, or even written with an ordinary editor, can be
executed by the stock system, so that customization or the provision of
special functionality is not limited to installations with DTK. In
fact, much of the distributed system is written in Lisp.

Rainer Joswig

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
to
In article <m2n1x2o...@sophia.axel.nom>, Johan Kullstam <kull...@ne.mediaone.net> wrote:

> about lines beginning with #!. in any event, they (at least CMUCL,
> clisp and trial ACL5) don't produce a stand alone binary i can copy to
> someone. maybe i am doing something wrong.

I've been doing this for years with MCL and now also with LWW.
We do all our scripting and applications on Unix with CLisp (favorite),
GCL (historical), siod (CGIs) and scsh (shell scripting).
We don't do any PERL, Python, TCL or any other lesser language.

> > Have you ever tried? We are doing it all the time.
>

> i use lisp for lots of stuff. i just wish i had an operating system
> which offered better integration with lisp.

Unless you get a Lispm, Macintosh Common Lisp has (IMBO)
the best OS integration.

> perhaps i am missing some
> things i could do? is there a lisp-howto for linux out there?

http://www.telent.net/lisp/
http://www.telent.net/lisp/howto.html
http://clisp.cons.org/~haible/clisp.html
http://www.elwoodcorp.com/alu/table/contents.htm
...

> i mean
> paul graham's books, the hyperspec, steele's book, the cmucl user
> manual, acls docs are great. however i haven't found a good low level
> nitty gritty here's how you use emacs, here's how you get a bash shell
> in linux to launch a lisp program, when should you clobber and restart
> your lisp listener, how many lisps do you need going at once &c.

Such info is partly available. If you write something
or you find something on the web submit it to the
ALU pages:
http://www.elwoodcorp.com/alu/table/about.htm

Mark Carroll

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
to
In article <ncohen-1107...@isdn5-67.ip.realtime.net>,
<nco...@bridgetrix.com> wrote:
(snip)

> As to the first topic, I'm just about to start a job search and have
>been informed there aren't any Lisp jobs out there.

Hey, I use some Modula-3 in my current job, and also write Modula-3 as
a consultant to another place, and I would bet that Common Lisp is
much 'bigger' than M3! (-: Quite simply, you just have to find jobs
where your employers are more interested in the fact that you're
solving their problems than in imposing their half-baked notions of
the best way to go about it. So, if you don't find any Lisp jobs, look
for flexible software-development posts. If you can demonstrate decent
software you've already written, that goes a long way.

(Just be verbose in your comments, etc. to help colleagues with little
Lisp knowledge work on the code if they have to!)

This is fairly general, so fu set to c.l.m only.

-- Mark

Pierre R. Mai

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
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Johan Kullstam <kull...@ne.mediaone.net> writes:

> manual, acls docs are great. however i haven't found a good low level
> nitty gritty here's how you use emacs, here's how you get a bash shell
> in linux to launch a lisp program, when should you clobber and restart
> your lisp listener, how many lisps do you need going at once &c.

Bundled with the Debian CMU CL packages, there is a short file
somewhere in /usr/doc/cmucl/ that explains how to get Linux to start
lisp files via CMU CL...

Jerry Avins

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
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Christopher B. Browne wrote:
>
> On 11 Jul 1999 10:11:19 GMT, Rob Warnock <rp...@rigden.engr.sgi.com> posted:
> >Andi Kleen <ak...@muc.de> wrote:
> >+---------------
> >| I would guess there are more Forths than Schemes.
> >+---------------
> >
> >Really??? There are dozens & dozens of Schemes[*] that *I* know of...
> >How many Forths are there? Even a dozen?
>
> There were a half-dozen Forths for Atari 8 bit, and about a half-dozen
> for Atari ST.
>
> I count 28 distinct implementations at
> <http://www.forth.org/compilers.html>, and that list is decidedly not
> comprehensive.

I have Forth for the AIM-65 in ROM, SYM-1 on tape, and FOCAL (a sort-of
Forth) for KIM-1. Also Aforth standalone for Z-80. Lately, I haven't
seen them on any list.


> --
> Lisp Users:
> Due to the holiday next Monday, there will be no garbage collection.
> cbbr...@ntlug.org- <http://www.ntlug.org/~cbbrowne/lsf.html>

--
Engineering is the art | Let's talk about what
of making what you want | you need; you may see
from things you can get. | how to do without it.
---------------------------------------------------------

my-las...@mediaone.net

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
to
Johan Kullstam <kull...@ne.mediaone.net> wrote:

>i use linux and windows nt. i've tried CMUCL, clisp and ACL5. i find
>that they are all awkward at producing a hello world application.
>sure i can open up a lisp and type (format t "hello world") or (load
>"hello-world") and then run something. sometimes, i can put
>#!/usr/bin/lisp at the top of a lisp script. some lisps get upset

>about lines beginning with #!. in any event, they (at least CMUCL,
>clisp and trial ACL5) don't produce a stand alone binary i can copy to
>someone. maybe i am doing something wrong.
>

>i am not trying to run anyone down. i just started using lisp about
>6-7 months ago and i really like it. it's just that unix and windows
>are set up to support C and C++. e.g., C has a largish libc these
>days. it's pretty much always in core and therefore no one pays any
>attention to it.

Using lisp for "Hello world" is a bit like:

- using Macsyma to balance your check book
- using Adobe Photoshop to view GIF files
- Using the Hoover dam to recharge your AA batteries

It's value is in its capacity to assist in solving big/complex problems.
Once viewed in that light, it's a question of "look at this solution to our hard
problem" and not "I can't run it from my .cshrc".

All a matter of perspective.

[...]


>
>i use lisp for lots of stuff. i just wish i had an operating system

>which offered better integration with lisp. perhaps i am missing some
>things i could do? is there a lisp-howto for linux out there? i mean


>paul graham's books, the hyperspec, steele's book, the cmucl user

>manual, acls docs are great. however i haven't found a good low level
>nitty gritty here's how you use emacs, here's how you get a bash shell
>in linux to launch a lisp program, when should you clobber and restart
>your lisp listener, how many lisps do you need going at once &c.

On that sentiment you'll find lots of agreement. Lots of people run scheme
derivatives as login shells, but I'm not the guy to tell you how.


D. Tenny
my-las...@mediaone.net - no spam please

my-las...@mediaone.net

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Jul 12, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/12/99
to
cba...@2xtreme.net (Christopher R. Barry) wrote:

>nco...@bridgetrix.com writes:
>
>> As to the first topic, I'm just about to start a job search and have
>> been informed there aren't any Lisp jobs out there.
>

>There are hundreds of thousands of Lisp jobs out there. It's a matter
>of your perspective. Just because when you look through ads all you
>see is "BS with 3 years experience and strong C, C++, Perl and Java
>skills..." doesn't necessarily mean that you can't use Lisp for the
>job, or at least part of the job.

I'm rather skeptical of the claim that there are hundreds of thousands of Lisp
jobs out there. In fact, I bet there are fewer than 50 paying lisp job openings
open this minute around the world. (I'm talking about commercial software
endeavors which are using lisp to code the software).

However I have one available and will post elsewhere in this conference.
Send resumes to (concatenate 'string "dtenny"
"@" "truesoft.com") if you want more info.

As to whether lisp is dying, I prefer to think of it as "commercially
challenged". It'll never die as long as there's interest. Finding a good
commercially supported lisp for business is getting more difficult however.
In this regard, Franz may be pricey, but their business model is probably more
solid than many lisp vendors which went before them, as evidenced by the fact
they're still around.

Rob Warnock

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Jerry Avins <jya...@erols.com> wrote:
+---------------

| I have Forth for the AIM-65 in ROM, SYM-1 on tape, and FOCAL (a sort-of
| Forth) for KIM-1...
+---------------

Uh... Having ported Doug Wrege's version of PDP-8 FOCAL/F to the PDP-10
Spring 1971, I can say with some confidence that FOCAL isn't even *vaguely*
Forth-like -- it's much closer to JOSS & MUMPS, and in fact, was developed
by Richey Lary following his participation in the first installation of
MUMPS at Mass Gen. While (old, original) MUMPS had "string" as it's only
data type (like Tcl), FOCAL had "floating point" as its only data type.
(In fact, mutable "strings" were emulated with arrays of floating-point
numbers, each array element representing one character.)

Like JOSS & MUMPS & BASIC & FORTRAN -- but unlike Forth -- FOCAL has
traditional infix arithmetic with "the usual" operator priorities,
that is, the assignment "SET A=B+C*4.35-D/2.468" is interpreted as
"SET A=((B+(C*4.35))-(D/2.468))".


-Rob

p.s. My FOCAL-10 port involved some serious rewriting of the internal
FOCAL lexical subroutines SORTC & SORTJ to become two-instruction macros
that made heavy use of the PDP-10 byte pointer stuff and "byte strips"
to encode enumerated character equivalence classes. (Hey, it made it
run 25 times faster!) It used some really hairy "MACRO-10" (the PDP-10
assembler) macros to build those tables at compile time. Imagine my
immense delight when I was exposed to Common Lisp and learned that:

1. The style of table-building I'd been writing in PDP-10 assembler
could be done *much* more naturally -- almost trivially, in fact --
with Lisp macros; and

2. That Common Lisp had preserved at least a little of the flavor of
the PDP-10 variable-sized byte operations... with the same names,
even: LDB, DPB, BYTE, BYTE-SIZE, BYTE-POSITION. Way cool!

I just wish I'd gotten into Lisp 20 years earlier than I did... (*sigh*)

Bart Lateur

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Rob Warnock wrote:

>Like JOSS & MUMPS & BASIC & FORTRAN -- but unlike Forth -- FOCAL has
>traditional infix arithmetic with "the usual" operator priorities,
>that is, the assignment "SET A=B+C*4.35-D/2.468" is interpreted as
>"SET A=((B+(C*4.35))-(D/2.468))".

This must be totally off-topic, but...

I thought I had read that one of the peculiarities of MUMPS is that the
was NO operator precedence? That everything was just executed from left
to right? That, therefore,

SET A=B+C*4.35-D/2.468

would be interpreted as

SET A=(((B+C)*4.35)-D)/2.468

?
Bart.

Michael Coughlin

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Christopher B. Browne wrote:

> On 11 Jul 1999 10:11:19 GMT, Rob Warnock <rp...@rigden.engr.sgi.com
> posted:
> >Andi Kleen <ak...@muc.de> wrote:
> >+---------------
> >| I would guess there are more Forths than Schemes.
> >+---------------

> >Really??? There are dozens & dozens of Schemes[*] that *I* know of...
> >How many Forths are there? Even a dozen?

> There were a half-dozen Forths for Atari 8 bit, and about a half-dozen
> for Atari ST.

> I count 28 distinct implementations at
> <http://www.forth.org/compilers.html>, and that list is decidedly not
> comprehensive.

There are roughly a hundred versions of Forth that you can
get copies of. If you have a need for a special version of
Forth,
mention it on comp.lang.forth, and somebody will offer to send
you a copy of his unpublished version that he never got around
to
finishing. Counting versions is not the way to tell the health
of
a computer language. Count the number of textbooks on the
shelves
of bookstores intead. I conclude that Lisp and Scheme are still
alive with about half to one third as many books as Fortran,
while Fortran has about one tenth as many books as the big guys
like C, Java, Visual Basic and C++. Forth comes out at zero.

When I meet people who tell me they want to learn all
about computing, including programming, I want to say learn
Forth. But I know that woun't work since they can't even go
to the bookstore and buy a book about it. Well at least they
can still get some nice books about Logo to get then started.

--
Michael Coughlin m-cou...@ne.mediaone.net Cambridge, MA USA

Fernando D. Mato Mira

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Michael Coughlin wrote:
     There are roughly a hundred versions of Forth that you can
get copies of. If you have a need for a special version of
Forth,
mention it on comp.lang.forth, and somebody will offer to send
you a copy of his unpublished version that he never got around
to
finishing. Counting versions is not the way to tell the health
What would be cool would be an Open Sourced OpenFirmware.
-- 
((( DANGER )) LISP BIGOT (( DANGER )) LISP BIGOT (( DANGER )))

Fernando D. Mato Mira                    
Real-Time SW Eng & Networking            
Advanced Systems Engineering Division
CSEM                             
Jaquet-Droz 1                   email: matomira AT acm DOT org
CH-2007 Neuchatel                 tel:       +41 (32) 720-5157
Switzerland                       FAX:       +41 (32) 720-5720

www.csem.ch      www.vrai.com     ligwww.epfl.ch/matomira.html
 

Jerry Avins

unread,
Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Rob Warnock wrote:
>
> Jerry Avins <jya...@erols.com> wrote:
> +---------------
> | I have Forth for the AIM-65 in ROM, SYM-1 on tape, and FOCAL (a sort-of
> | Forth) for KIM-1...
> +---------------
>
> Uh... Having ported Doug Wrege's version of PDP-8 FOCAL/F to the PDP-10
> Spring 1971, I can say with some confidence that FOCAL isn't even *vaguely*
> Forth-like -- it's much closer to JOSS & MUMPS, and in fact, was developed
> by Richey Lary following his participation in the first installation of
> MUMPS at Mass Gen. While (old, original) MUMPS had "string" as it's only
> data type (like Tcl), FOCAL had "floating point" as its only data type.
> (In fact, mutable "strings" were emulated with arrays of floating-point
> numbers, each array element representing one character.)
>
> Like JOSS & MUMPS & BASIC & FORTRAN -- but unlike Forth -- FOCAL has
> traditional infix arithmetic with "the usual" operator priorities,
> that is, the assignment "SET A=B+C*4.35-D/2.468" is interpreted as
> "SET A=((B+(C*4.35))-(D/2.468))".
>
> -Rob
>
> p.s. My FOCAL-10 port involved some serious rewriting of the internal
> FOCAL lexical subroutines SORTC & SORTJ to become two-instruction macros
> that made heavy use of the PDP-10 byte pointer stuff and "byte strips"
> to encode enumerated character equivalence classes. (Hey, it made it
> run 25 times faster!) It used some really hairy "MACRO-10" (the PDP-10
> assembler) macros to build those tables at compile time. Imagine my
> immense delight when I was exposed to Common Lisp and learned that:
>
> 1. The style of table-building I'd been writing in PDP-10 assembler
> could be done *much* more naturally -- almost trivially, in fact --
> with Lisp macros; and
>
> 2. That Common Lisp had preserved at least a little of the flavor of
> the PDP-10 variable-sized byte operations... with the same names,
> even: LDB, DPB, BYTE, BYTE-SIZE, BYTE-POSITION. Way cool!
>
> I just wish I'd gotten into Lisp 20 years earlier than I did... (*sigh*)
>
> -----
> Rob Warnock, 8L-855 rp...@sgi.com
> Applied Networking http://reality.sgi.com/rpw3/
> Silicon Graphics, Inc. Phone: 650-933-1673
> 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy. FAX: 650-933-0511
> Mountain View, CA 94043 PP-ASEL-IA

Rob,

I remember a Forth-like program I ran on the KIM, sitting at the
teletype in my kid's room working out algorithms to move an NC machine
in arbitrary circular arcs. I remember being annoyed because it seemed
that the major difference from Forth was the renaming of words just to
be different. My recollection that it was called Focal is evidently
faulty. Does anyone know what it might have been? (I had a video RAM on
that KIM, connected to a small TV monitor so I could plot the
trajectories. It was a better machine for my purpose than the mainframe
at work.)

Jerry

Bart Lateur

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Bart Lateur wrote:

>I thought I had read that one of the peculiarities of MUMPS is that the
>was NO operator precedence? That everything was just executed from left
>to right? That, therefore,
>
> SET A=B+C*4.35-D/2.468
>
>would be interpreted as
>
> SET A=(((B+C)*4.35)-D)/2.468
>
>?

Somebody suggested (by e-mail) that I must have been thinking about
another language. Well, I looked it up. Here it is:

M[UMPS] by example: operators
http://www.jacquardsystems.com/Examples/operator.htm

I quote:

M[UMPS] evaluates strictly from left to right, so that 1+1*2
yields 4 and not 3.

Bart.

Elizabeth D Rather

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Michael Coughlin wrote in message <378B405C...@ne.mediaone.net>...
>... Counting versions is not the way to tell the health

>of
>a computer language. Count the number of textbooks on the
>shelves
>of bookstores intead. I conclude that Lisp and Scheme are still
>alive with about half to one third as many books as Fortran,
>while Fortran has about one tenth as many books as the big guys
>like C, Java, Visual Basic and C++. Forth comes out at zero.
>
> When I meet people who tell me they want to learn all
>about computing, including programming, I want to say learn
>Forth. But I know that woun't work since they can't even go
>to the bookstore and buy a book about it. Well at least they
>can still get some nice books about Logo to get then started.


Is Amazon a bookstore? Several Forth books there.

Cheers,
Elizabeth


Michael Schuerig

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Jul 13, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/13/99
to
Michael Coughlin <m-cou...@ne.mediaone.net> wrote:

> I conclude that Lisp and Scheme are still
> alive with about half to one third as many books as Fortran,
> while Fortran has about one tenth as many books as the big guys
> like C, Java, Visual Basic and C++. Forth comes out at zero.

So, can you recommend any of those "zero" books? I've never used Forth
and I'm not sure I ever will. I'm much more attracted to languages from
the Lisp family -- nonetheless, my curiousity has slowly grown over the
years.

Michael

--
Michael Schuerig
mailto:schu...@acm.org
http://www.schuerig.de/michael/

Rob Warnock

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Jul 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/14/99
to
Bart Lateur <bart....@skynet.be> wrote:
+---------------+---------------

Thanks for the pinter!

+---------------


| M[UMPS] evaluates strictly from left to right, so that 1+1*2
| yields 4 and not 3.

+---------------

Well, what can I say?!? FOCAL *was* inspired directly by MUMPS, yet
it *did* have operator precedence, for arithmetic exprs at least --
I remember coding that part of FOCAL-10 as direct transliteration
of the FOCAL/F code. There was a separate small data stack for
intermediate results. (And a FOCAL-in-C snarfed off the net some
time ago agrees, too.)

Oh, well...


-Rob

Rob Warnock

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Jul 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/14/99
to
Bart Lateur <bart....@skynet.be> wrote:
+---------------
| M[UMPS] by example: operators
| http://www.jacquardsystems.com/Examples/operator.htm
+---------------

Thanks for the pointer!

Michael Coughlin

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Jul 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/14/99
to
Michael Schuerig wrote:

> Michael Coughlin <m-cou...@ne.mediaone.net> wrote:

> > I conclude that Lisp and Scheme are still
> > alive with about half to one third as many books as Fortran,
> > while Fortran has about one tenth as many books as the
> > big guys like C, Java, Visual Basic and C++. Forth comes
> > out at zero.

> So, can you recommend any of those "zero" books? I've never
> used Forth and I'm not sure I ever will. I'm much more
> attracted to languages from the Lisp family -- nonetheless,
> my curiousity has slowly grown over the years.

There are many sources of knowledge about Forth for an
experienced computer user and net surfer. The problem I'm always
complaining about is the lack of Forth instructional material
for complete computer novices. I think this lack of interest in
providing new beginners material lowers the quality and quantity
of tutorial material for all levels of Forth.

The best book I've ever seen on programming for any
language was written for Forth -- "Starting Forth" by Leo
Brodie. Unfortunately this is out of print and available only
thru special order; its not on the shelf of bookstores like it
was for over ten years. There is one new book on Forth for
experienced programmers available from Amazon.com (not
bookstores) and also Forth Inc (http://www.forth.com). Of the
very roughly 100 versions of Forth available for various
computers and operating systems, 10 or 20 have some
documentation that will show how to use Forth for someone who
already knows how to program. The other systems assume that you
have read a book like "Starting Forth" or have learned another
version of Forth and can reverse engineer uncommented Forth
source code. There are several tutorials and articles on the web
that are very good and the amount of material is slowly growing.
See the FAQ for comp.lang.forth for a list. Actually there are
too many web pages for Forth and it is hard to sort thru all of
them to find the ones that tell you exactly what you want to
know. If you don't find what you need, post a message to
comp.lang.forth stating your favorite operating system, cpu and
applications and someone point you to the right place.

Michael Coughlin

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Jul 14, 1999, 3:00:00 AM7/14/99