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Re: Industry versus academia
Matt, this is one of the most cogent summaries of the language developer's
dilemma I've ever read. Thanks very much for your post -- I agree with
essentially everything you said. I will add that another problem is that
too many programmers in industry are only there because they want to make
money, and this attitude does not generate the best hackers (nothing wrong
with wanting to make money, but if that's ALL you care about...).
My conclusion after reading what you wrote is that there are only two kinds
of language evolution that can happen:
1) Industry-initiated and supported languages like java and C# that are
very conservative languages whose main purpose is to make things easier
on the average programmer without burdening them with much that's new.
2) Grass-roots languages that come from academia or from motivated
programmers (e.g. ocaml, lisp variants, perl, python, etc.).
Sometimes, languages in the second category can migrate into the first (I
see this happening with python). In many cases, though, it won't happen,
because most average programmers don't want to learn new ways of doing
things. From their perspective, I suppose it makes sense.