HRM Resident <hrm...@gmail.com
> This stuff is written in Lisp...
Emacs lisp, which has a bunch of special-purpose features. But it *is*
> ...which I thought was a modern
> language. Turns out the only thing "older" is FORTRAN. Maybe Lisp is
> worth the effort to learn (a bit) seeing as it has survived since ~1958.
Lisp is cool. I compiled XLisp on an Osborne I and it ran although
that was more of an exercise in hacking C to get DOS code to compile.
And there was only enough RAM left for half a dozen lines of lisp
I've done Towers of Hanoi and a simulation of the "homeostat" from
W. Ross Ashby's _Design for a Brain_ in XLisp with ASCII graphics
output. And I had a RPN working in XLisp, too, but it was too slow and
low-precision so ported it to perl. I've only done a very little
hacking in emacs lisp, just a few little tweaks to customize emacs.
Lisp is a real brain-twister if you're used to C. A lot of brilliant
theory was involved in devising it, foundational to the theory of
computer languages. See also: Lambda calculus or Alonzo Church.
Steele's Common Lisp the Language (available on line) is AIUI the
bible for how lisp works and Common Lisp from Franz Inc. seems to be a
comprehensive reference. There's a similar reference for XLisp by Tim
Mikkelsen that I'm pretty sure is till on line. (I printed out all
ca. 500 pages when I had access to a printer at the biz school at Dal
in early 90s.) The GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual is also available
online as PDF or PS but it's heavily oriented toward running Emacs
rather than playing around. XLisp has more fun features such as
If you can't find XLisp (C source or compiled for Linux), and your
Linux distro doesn't have a version of Common Lisp, you can get CLisp
Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada