Subject: Re: Lisp is alive, was "Re: Common LISP: The Next Generation"
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1996/09/19
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

[Cyber Surfer]

|   There may be free Lisps for most (if not all) platforms, but you
|   know how hard some programmers will resist new languages.

some, perhaps, but the rush to C++ and Java showed me that programmers will
drop their "favorite" language in the blink of an eye and embrace something
new and "hot".

however, I think the problem is more likely that text book authors are
doing Lisp an enormous disfavor by mentioning it at all.  recently, I had a
look at David Harel : Algorithmics : The Spirit of Computing, from 1992,
and its treatment of Lisp might as well have been written in 1962.

and then there's the entries in Encyclopædia Britannica, which I have
mentioned here previously:

    LISP (List Processor) is a language that is powerful in manipulating
    lists of data or symbols rather than processing numerical data.  In
    this sense, LISP is unique.  It requires large memory space and, since
    it is usually processed by an interpreter, is slow in executing
    programs.  LISP was developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s by a
    group headed by John McCarthy, then a professor at the Massachusetts
    Institute of Technology.  At that time, LISP was radically different
    from other languages, such as FORTRAN and ALGOL.  Several versions have
    been developed from the LISP 1.5 introduced by McCarthy; Common LISP,
    released in 1984, is becoming the de facto standard of LISP.

    Other languages are functional, in the sense that programming is done
    by calling (i.e., invoking) functions or procedures, which are sections
    of code executed within a program.  The best-known language of this
    type is LISP (from List Processing), in which all computation is
    expressed as an application of a function to one or more "objects."
    Since LISP objects may be other functions as well as individual data
    items (variables, in mathematical terminology) or data structures, a
    programmer can create functions at the appropriate level of abstraction
    to solve the problem at hand.  This feature has made LISP a popular
    language for artificial intelligence applications, although it has been
    somewhat superseded by logic programming languages such as Prolog (from
    Programming in Logic).

    LISP (List Processing) can be used to manipulate symbols and lists
    rather than numeric data; it is often used in artificial-intelligence

|   They'll need a good reason to install and play with a Lisp.

that good reason is called "curiosity".  a programmer who does not possess
curiosity should not be allowed to write code for others.  and if we cannot
trust the curiosity of programmers, nothing will ever happen.  however, the
curious programmer should be able to find some _correct_ and _updated_
information about Lisp where he might be likely to look.

those who do not know Lisp are doomed to reimplement it