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Slopes & cliffs

   Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2001 22:19:24 +0000
   From: Simon Cozens <simon@simon-cozens.org>

   On Fri, Dec 07, 2001 at 08:34:29PM -0400, shivers@cc.gatech.edu wrote:
   > At the time he was peddling that picture of the world, I was writing web
   > servers and disk-dumping scripts in the same language: scsh.

   Would you be prepared to admit that you might not be the common case? :)

Heck, no!

I get mail *all the time* from scsh users who do similar stuff. And the weird
pattern in the mail is that there is no pattern. Wall St. quants, VLSI
designers, sysadmins, guys at Swiss banks, conference chairs -- people who
just need to write scripts or do network protocols or generic programs that
are *systems* programs... but ones that can run comfortably on a byte-code

However... I guess I'm definitely not the common case in the simplest,
clearest use of the term, which is that the number of these people are
completely dwarfed by the user base of, say, C & perl, to name the *really*
big dogs out there in industrial use. 

But I maintain that Scheme and scsh are not intrinsically harder to learn than
either C or perl. As I said earlier, Scheme is not all about weird
constructions using CALL/CC just the mere contemplation of which will cause
you to bleed from the nose and ears. It *allows* you to do that, if that's
your idea of fun (e.g., what does this do: (call/cc call/cc)) or you need that
kind of heavy-duty machinery. However, simple programs in Scheme are simple.
It is, to use the Curl term, a gentle slope language.

And at least, unlike tcl, it's *got* a slope.