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Re: PG: Hackers and Painters

On Tuesday, May 20, 2003, at 03:49 AM, Bayley, Alistair wrote:
> Are you suggesting that because Haskell is/was based on Miranda that 
> it is
> not designed by committee?

I'm asking if that is a possibility, yes.

> If so, then I probably have a different idea of
> "designed by committee" from you. For example, C++ was initially the 
> work of
> Bjarne Stroustrup, and now it is designed by committee. If this the 
> sort of
> language you had in mind?

I was thinking of Ruby, Python, Perl and Lisp as examples of 
individually designed languages and languages like COBOL and ADA as 
ones designed by committee. People seem to be less likely to program in 
the later for fun.

>  If not, can you give some examples? (Isn't Common Lisp designed by 
> committee?)

I'm not a Lisp expert, but from what I've read, I've gotten the 
impression that the Lisp language(it's basic syntax and semantics) were 
designed by John McCarthy, but the flavor of that design called Common 
Lisp was designed by committee of various Lisp flavor implementors. A 
useful comparison here might be of Common Lisp with other Lisps. Here's 
a critique of the results:

"Every decision of the committee can be locally rationalized as the 
right thing. We believe that the sum of these decisions, however, has 
produced something greater than its parts; an unwieldy, overweight 
beast, with significant costs (especially on other than micro-codable 
personal Lisp engines) in compiler size and speed, in runtime 
performance, in programmer overhead needed to produce efficient 
programs, and in intellectual overload for a programmer wishing to be a 
proficient COMMON LISP programmer." - Rodney A. Brooks and Richard P. 

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