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Re: why tail recursion matters and why Java isn't it, was Re: lispperformance was Re: problems with lisp

Guy Steele - Sun Microsystems Labs wrote:
>    Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2003 20:08:01 +0200
>    From: Pascal Costanza <costanza@iai.uni-bonn.de>
>    To: Matthias Felleisen <matthias@ccs.neu.edu>
>    Cc: ll1-discuss@ai.mit.edu
>    ...
>    It's important to note two things here:
>    + Aesthetics are important. A beautiful program is easier to maintain 
>    and debug and so forth.
>    + Aesthetics are a matter of taste. I don't think you can really argue 
>    for one or another aesthetic category. You either believe in one or another.
> Actually, these two points contradict one another to some extent.
> If aesthetics are so important that they can affect productivity,
> then they are not simply a matter of taste.


> But if by "a matter of
> taste" you mean that what leads to greater productivity may differ
> from one programmer to another, then that is an objective matter that
> is in principle subject to measurement, and one can furthermore ask
> other questions, such as: if one were to choose a single aesthetic
> category and force everyone to use it, which choice of category
> would maximize total productivity?  Or, if we can afford to support
> at most three aesthetic categories, which set of at most three
> would maximize totla productivity?

Why would you want to force someone to use a single aesthetic category? 
Why would you want to limit the number of admissible aesthetic categories?

If the success of specific aesthetic categories varies from one 
programmer to another, wouldn't it be best to let everyone decide 
themselves what aesthetic category to use in order to maximize 
productivity? Of course, it should be a well-informed decision.

The problem with the state of computer science today isn't that everyone 
uses Java. The problem is that everyone thinks that there should be only 
one language.


Pascal Costanza               University of Bonn
mailto:costanza@web.de        Institute of Computer Science III
http://www.pascalcostanza.de  Römerstr. 164, D-53117 Bonn (Germany)