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RE: Has anyone ever made a successful business of selling a language?

Another language that we have not talked about is MATLAB. It is very popular
in engineering depts. and with engineers. In engineering schools it is used
by about 70% of the population. Somewhat similar to Python, although not as
comprehensive for non-engineering applications.

I guess MATLAB would qualify as a light weight language with a very
heavy-weight library, although the library has been partitioned for use in
different disciplines, e.g. there is a toolbox for control systems, Signal
processing, Image Processing etc.

I believe MATLAB has been successful for many reasons - some of them are
mentioned below:

Focused on the needs of a particular community of users- engineers
-	had initially focused on automotive engineers
It is significantly easier to develop applications in MATLAB than in what
engineers were using, viz.  FORTRAN
A reasonably good IDE
Very large and  effective library of functions
Uses Matrices as a fundamental data structure and provides a concise and
easily understood  notation to manipulate them - particularly valuable for
engineers who are taught a similar notation to model engineering problems.
While substantial effort was not put into optimizing the byte code
generated, the use of Matrices and aggregate operations and implementing
them as calls to C functions has been very effective. "For loops" that are
vectorized operate 10-50 times faster. A lot of attention was paid to
getting the libraries to be fast and numerically accurate. Most of the time
is spent there.
In many situations, being 20 or even 100% faster has no impact. There are
other situations   where every nano-sec counts - one would not use MATLAB
for those situations.

Having said the above, I find Scheme fascinating. It is far more elegant
than most languages. It has a very good IDE (Dr Scheme). I suppose I could
use macros to define aggregate operations that are not available. I suppose
I could associate some of these operations directly to library calls and get
the order of magnitude advantage in speed. It has general purpose libraries
to build Web services and the like. I am not sure whether it has adequate
numeric libraries or whether anyone has tried to link it up with standard
linear algebra packages such as BLAS.

Given the above, with a little education, I think people can get used to the
Prefix or suffix syntaxes can be overcome ( as is done by most people who
readily learn natural languages which have SVO(English, French..),
SOV(Tamil, Malayalam.), OSV.) if users see a HUGE advantage in efficiency or
correctness etc.

After decades, I think  Scheme is ready to go mainstream

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
[mailto:owner-ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu]On Behalf Of S. Alexander Jacobson
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 9:19 AM
To: Jeremy Hylton
Cc: Dan Weinreb; paul@prescod.net; ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
Subject: Re: Java

On Fri, 7 Dec 2001, Jeremy Hylton wrote:
> Has anyone ever made a successful business of selling a language?

Depends on your meaning of language and success.
(Many of these appear to be DSLs)

Database Clients:
	Visual Basic

	Macromedia Director/Lingo

Web Programming

Printing and Display
	Adobe Postscript -- they get paid for every PS printer

Application Languages
	Oracle SQL
	MS SQL Server
	VBA (Visual Basic for Applications)

Strategic languages (don't make money themselves, but drive business)
	C# -- locks people into the Microsoft platform
	Java -- helps people avoid being locked into the Microsoft platform

	Lotus 1-2-3

S. Alexander Jacobson                   i2x Media
1-917-783-0889 voice                    1-212-697-1427 fax