Bjarne Stroustrup wrote:
> The furthest I go is to claim that unless C++ had at least some
> of the virtues I claim for it, it would have died during the
> early years where there were essentially no C++ marketing and
> alternatives languages with marketing dollars behind them existed.
Likewise corporate backing of Tcl is a very recent thing. For a long
time it was just a few enthusiasts with a mailing list and then later a
few thousand enthusiasts with a newsgroup. Getting your company to use
Tcl was as hard a fight as getting most companies to try any other new
I think it's interesting that where one LISP guy's list of essentials
were "full dynamism, introspection, procedural macros, lexically-scoped
closures and generic functions and no static typing", mine, when I was
looking for a scripting language back in 1988, were that it be
embeddable, interpreted, have a reasonably small footprint, be good with
text, and be easy to plug C code into.
LISP had a 25 year headstart and a hell of lot more funding. Tcl's
competition, in terms of what languages people use instead of Tcl to do
the sorts of things that people do in Tcl, has mainly been PERL, IMHO,
with a bit of ksh, awk, Python, etc., as well.
This has not stopped the periodic trolling through comp.lang.tcl by LISP
and Scheme weenies trying to pick a fight.
I think Tcl is popular because a lot of programmers found that scripting
languages were powerful and useful additions to applications, and that
Tcl was free and pretty easy to pick up and plug into an app.
So anyone who wants to say Tcl's marketing is what has made it
successful, well, old timers just have to laugh. And these threads seem
be an argument between the theorists who love LISP and the pragmatists
who have an app and a deadline and want to find something that works and
use it and ship the thing and move on to the next project.
I can guess how the scathing rebuttal will go... "It's precisely the
crap foisted on everyone by the pragmatists that we LISP weenies are
trying to fix. But look at these two dead company's most excellent LISP
The "battle" is a battle for mindshare. That battle is fought one
mind... one program... at a time. So we Tcl weenies just keep on
chooglin'. If you're a committed bike rider and you turn into a strong
headwind, you don't get mad, you just downshift, put your head down, and
pedal. And before too long, you've ridden pretty far. You want LISP's
influence to increase, you're not going to get people to do it your way
by flaming them. You've gotta remove obstacles to its use, pump out
tools and apps, help people who run into problems, and push out the
examples and games and clever little hacks that pique peoples'
curiosity. You gotta sell it to the people who would use it. And make
sure it really is as general purpose as you say... Like rewrite some
shell scripts in it. But a lot it seems like the attitude of the LISP
camp toward workaday programmers ranges from condecension to derision to
outright contempt. You want LISP to do better? Lose the attitude, and
make sure you have a good, free implementation that runs real well on