Subject: Re: State machine representation From: Erik Naggum <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: 01 Feb 2004 21:53:15 +0000 Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <2004-032-873-KL2065E@naggum.no> * Dave Roberts | Specifically, I was comparing CL's way of handling functions bound to | symbols with that of Scheme, which honestly does seem cleaner, in my | not so educated opinion. So the first language you learned is better than the next language you set out to learn? That attitude is the reason people never learn to speak anything but their first language well. I just commented on this phenomenon over in misc.metric-system, in <2004-032-835-KL2065E@naggum.no>. It certainly applies here, too. | Anyway, I was not trying to offend. If you believe there is a lot of | advantage in CL's way of doing things, please share. I want to | understand if there is something I may have missed. What you have missed is that languages are the products of evolution. Just learn the language at hand. Do not compare it to anything else, or you will continue to write and think in whatever you compare with. Have you ever tried to compare a potential girlfriend with your first? The urge to compare may be human, but if so, it ranks up there with errare humanum est -- you expend effort not to make mistakes precisely because it is so human. There is no way to avoid offending people if you keep comparing them to other people all the time. Languages are the products of people and all those who use them are people. Imagine someone who compares you to some other bloke all the time if you have a hard time with the metaphors I have used, and you should be able to realize that the act of comparing is the fundamental insult. Not only does comparing with something else prevent you from appreciating what something is on its own merits, you will naturally resist comparisons that make it evident that it is superior to what you compare it with. If you wish to speak Common Lisp with a strong Scheme accent, you are well on your way. I cannot imagine why anyone would /want/ to speak with a strong accent, but then again, I have been known to be hostile to people who use their dialects outside of their home town and have this incredibly annoying urge to tell me where they grew up instead of anything worth hearing about. While this bizarre ritual is somehow a human right in the eyes of those who do it, the computer will not be impressed with your heritage, will not consider you a honorary member of its tribe because you exhibit the same regionally accepted speech impediments, and will not congratulate you on how well you speak a foreign language despite the rather annoying and obvious flaws. So my advice to you, and this is pretty strongly felt because I believe that the first thing you learn is an irrelevant accident of timing which must not prevent you from learning new things that accidentally arrive within your sensory experiences later, is that you completely forget everything you learned from Scheme and start afresh with Common Lisp in its own right, on its own merits. Otherwise, I may want to compare you to all the other people who have never learned Common Lisp because they were stuck in Compareville. -- Erik Naggum | Oslo, Norway 2004-032 Act from reason, and failure makes you rethink and study harder. Act from faith, and failure makes you blame someone and push harder.