[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Macros and little languages

--Zooko wrote:
>  Matthias Felleisen <matthias@ccs.neu.edu>:
> >
> > At Mon, 27 May 2002 09:26:39 -0700, Paul Prescod wrote:
> > > Re: infix versus prefix. I have more faith that you could convince the
> > > world to use esperanto than prefix notation. But by all means, have
> > > another go at it. Maybe it just needs one more try!
> > 
> > Well, perhaps we really just want to tease you. After all, if you don't
> > use prefix and parenthesized languages, we have an advantage. -- Matthias
> I'm not sure of the tone of this conversation, but this quip just made me 
> realize something.
> If we exist in a big pool of people who are all competing with one another, 
> then what you've said (Matthias) is true.  If we exist in a big pool of people 
> who are all cooperating with one another, then the opposite is true -- by 
> using a syntax amenable to one hundred times as many people, I gain one 
> hundred times as many tool authors, clients, collaborators, etc.
> Of course in reality we exist in a more complex situation were both kinds of 
> interaction are important.
> But this has made me realize that there is an opposite side to Paul Graham's 
> "How I Used Lisp To Outdo My Non-Lisp Competitors" story -- it also implies that 
> he wasn't taking advantage of other people's code as much as his erstwhile 
> competitors could have.

We didn't use any external libraries, if that's what you mean,
and yet we did in a way use a lot of other people's code, 
because we used an open-source Lisp (Clisp) instead of writing
our own a la Greenspun's Tenth Rule, as all our competitors
would have had to do to get their software to work like ours.

> FWIW the current Python culture (as well as, I'm sure, the current Lisp 
> culture) is very much on the side of cooperation viz competition with regard 
> to source code and object code.  The python-list is famously friendly, and 
> Python has mature traditions of interoperating with code from the C/C++ and 
> Java worlds.

One advantage of competition is that losing ideas get GCed.

> (BTW, I'm a bit of an economic cynic and I expect this culture to prove 
> non-scalable.  ;-))
> Regards,
> Zooko
> -------
> Secure Distributed Systems Consulting -- http://zooko.com/
> -------