With a mighty <334D0B97.1A64@not4u.polaroid.com>,
firstname.lastname@example.org uttered these wise words...
> Lisp is rather nice, but it is the evangelists/Lisp-marketeers
> many of us could do without. I have gotten to suspect that
> since a programming language occupies a lot of a programmer's mind
> and thoughts, and since programming in Lisp tends to encourage
> the quick hack for "fooling the machine" to get what you want
> done, the hardcore Lisp programmers tend to acquire the mindset
> that in a newsgroup the objective is to "fool the audience" to
> get them to believe whatever you want them to believe.
Perhaps a _few people_ are a little over-zealous in their support (and
defense) of Lisp, but I don't believe that there's a general trend
amoung Lisp programmers - at least in comp.lang.lisp - to deceive
anyone. In fact, I've noticed many threads in which the exact opposite
has occured. Lisp people have gracefully responded to attacks from
people (who, curiously, have tended to support C++) with informed and
_easily verified_ postings, often with references to software or CS
papers available via the Internet.
> Amazingly, a lot of the hardcore ng Lisp evangelists don't even
> seem to have learned the language or the issues well, but are good
> at fooling the audience into believing they have! And those
> who do know the language and the issues well will not speak
> out if it contributes away from a "desired" fooling of the
> audience. Contrast that with C, where in strange debates
> involving Scott Nudd, C supporters would go out of their way
> to correct each other if one of them stepped on the truth
> and facts.
See above. I think you've confused Lisp with C/C++. If you'd been
reading comp.lang.lisp prior to 1995 (when the concerted attacks
mysteriously ceased), then you'd have found the clueless attacks very
hard to miss. As they were crossposted to a fair number of other
newsgroups, like comp.lang.tcl and comp.lang.perl, and not just
comp.lang.lisp and comp.lang.c++, it's possible that a number of
people reading _this_ thread know what I'm refering to.
I still hope that the C/C++ programmers posting in those threads were
not representative of C/C++ programmers in general. Either these
people were just using clueless arguments in the hope of "beating" a
language that they somehow saw as a rival, or they really did believe
it all. I can cope with propaganda, but the thought that it might've
been _ignorance_ scares me.
Still, it might explain the low quality of some of the software that
we see. The fact that it sells, and people use it regardless of the
bugs, the poor performance, the pathetic features, etc...well, that
worries me, too. Just not in the same way. After all, there's a big
difference between writing code and the selling and marketing for it.
You may well need to, if you post propaganda like yours. ;) I'm just
regreting that I didn't archive any of the really stupid anti-Lisp,
pro-C/C++ arguments that we used to see, before 1995. However, it's
possible that we may see a few more, real soon now.
Curiously, Java appears to be taking some of the flak that may have
once been destined for Lisp. I wonder why this is? What is it that
makes Java or Lisp a threat to C++? If the arguments used to support
C++ are true, then nothing can touch it, end of story. The very fact
that C++ programmers so frequently attack "rival" languages suggests
that its position is (perceived as being) _not_ so secure.
If there are any archives of comp.lang.lisp, comp.lang.tcl, etc, then
I recommend checking them, just in case you have any doubts. You may
well find them rather enlightening. Alternately, you might just find
them discouraging, as I recall the Lisp people having some damn good
answers. Browsing a few of them might convince you that there are
better ways of spending your time, and ours than trying to propagate a
few malicious - and false - memes about progamming languages.
The "attacks" on Tcl in _this_ thread have been, by contrast,
relatively well informed and very fair, which doesn't mean much. We've
had a few "hello, world" examples of code, which prove nothing except
how people will use trivial problems to "demonstrate" the (alleged)
superiority of one tool over another. At least there's little of the
clueless arguments that we've seen in the past. It's more like a
reasonable difference of opinions, backed up by some _possibly_ dodgy
arguments, depending on your perspective. No CS papers, unless I've
missed them, just some very silly code examples, but nowhere near as
silly as the pro-C/C++ propaganda.
Please note that I don't necessarily consider Lisp - or existing Lisp
implementations - to be "perfect". This is very subjective, as it
depends on what code you write, the platform it runs on, and who uses
it, plus a billion other factors. I _have_ been heavily criticised for
suggesting that the existing Lisp dialects and implementations are not
the only possibilties, or for pointing out a few weak areas in Lisp
implementations (not the language itself!) for a certain platform.
Of course, I can do that for _any_ language and platform with which
I'm familiar. Please don't ask me what I think of C, or even C++. ;)
In other words, there's _always_ room for improvement! Few people
would disagree, but I bet a few _will_, that Java can improve and _is_
improving. That's because it's still a very young language, and needs
time to mature. However, even mature languages can change.
In conclusion...I recently found this in a sig.file:
There are two types of fool: one says "This is old and therefore
good.", the other says "This is new, and therefore better."
<URL:http://www.wildcard.demon.co.uk/> You can never browse enough
Martin Rodgers | Programmer and Information Broker | London, UK
Please note the "gubbish" in my email address.