Subject: Re: Lisp in the "real world"
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1997/07/01
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,comp.lang.scheme
Message-ID: <>

* Martin Rodgers -> Hrvoje Niksic
| Are you saying that it can be done, then?  Have you done it?  Why have
| Harlequin or Franz not done it, if it's so simple?

if it were that simple, even you could have done it, and no Lisp vendor
would need to waste time on it.

however, it is obviously non-trivial, but doable.  this means it costs time
and money to do it.  if nobody offers a vendor to buy the product (or
otherwise cover the costs), it could be a week's worth of coding to get it
done, and _still_ it would never happen.  it's as simple as that.

| For all I know, you're just dismissing this as a "Windows problem", and
| you can't be bothered to deal with it.

look, Martin, it's obvious that you have some sort of inferiority complex
on behalf of Windows, but Windows in whatever incarnation or version or
build or whatever Microsoft ships it is _completely_irrelevant_ to this
discussion.  this is _not_ a discussion about Windows, pro or con, it's an
attempt to make you understand that Windows is not by itself an argument
for anybody to do anything.  (yeah, I know, the Windows world tends to
think that market share is the be-all-end-all argument, but people who
aren't into selling good old products in new wrappings just because some
fresh-out-of-school MBA aced the "retargeting the market" class will see
the _problems_ of addressing the Windows world, namely that you have to be
a big player to overcome the marketing threshold of the Windows market, you
have to prepare an organization to ship thousands of copies a day once you
hit the right marketing channels, and you have to have a gargantuan support
system to handle all the dimwits who buy the product and lack every
conceivable clue yet expect to get free help on the most trivial of issues.
sure, anybody can sell a small volume to the Windows market, but if you
don't ship at least a hundred thousand copies, at the ridiculously low
prices they are willing to buy, you're not going to be able to _afford_ to
stay in business.  the real reason I don't want Lisp vendors to go into the
Windows market is that I want them to stay alive.  substantial companies
have crashed and burned trying to sell niche products to the Windows
market.  the Lisp world doesn't have the luxury of any expendable vendors.)

get your head out of Bill Gates' rear and start to realize the demons that
you invoke with your misguided propaganda against Lisp in the guise of
being in favor of Lisp-on-Windows are so mind-bogglingly costly for vendors
and developers that you are a direct threat to the very existence of Lisp
if anybody is stupid enough to listen to you.  to be successful in the
Windows market, you _have_ to get very, very comfortable with Microsoft,
and Microsoft is a company that is known far and wide to eat it partners
alive and kill those who offend them.  there are many documented cases of
Microsoft changing systems internals to screw their past partners, IBM in
particular.  Microsoft is a _predator_, and Bill Gates doubly so.

Lisp has survived in the underbrush (niche markets) for many decades, and
will in all likelihood continue to survive for many more decades, but those
who venture into the open field _will_ fall prey to Microsoft's fraudulent
business practices until Microsoft itself rots and dies, which I predict
happens between the years 2005 and 2010.

unlike the Windows world of predators and prey ruled not by ethics but by
whoever runs faster, the _real_ world is not in their hurry.  substantial
projects still need to be completed, vast amounts of information still need
to be computerized and made accessible to software that will need to run
for decades to come.  the kinds of fools who are upset with EXE or DLL or
whatever this week's hottest TLA is, are of no consequence, because they
are willing to sacrifice their _information_ at the slightest hint from
Redmond that something new and improved is coming out.  people who invest
in _information_, with a touch of longevity, simply don't use Microsoft
products, because Microsoft stands to earn billions of dollars every time
the idiots who used Microsoft for their important files need to upgrade to
stay abreast with all the others, and Microsoft can't allow they to use
their old files and their old software, because there would be no money in
that for Microsoft.  if you get married to Microsoft, the life expectancy
of your information and your software investments drops precipitously.

for a programming language that has survived the coming and going of lots
of inferior languages, multiple dialects and standardization of itself, and
still has an active community of programmers, the short-term flirts with
the here-today-gone-tomorrow community of Microsoft is _not_ a value, and,
I maintain, _will_ kill it.

that's why Martin Rodgers (and, god forbid, more people like him) should
pay for the development of Windows-friendly Lisps, not sit back and demand
that Lisp vendors commit suicide so that they can produce one stinking DLL
and decide "nah, Lisp isn't for me, anyway".  you yourself have claimed
that you're waiting for Dylan to meet your needs, Martin, so it is hardly
unfair or overly harsh to ask you to shut the fuck up about your Windows
shit and let people earn their living as best they can, _without_ the
enormous costs that sleeping with Microsoft will entail.

Microsoft _will_ die, and I give them a decade, but Lisp must _not_ go down
the drain with them or be sacrificed to keep Microsoft alive a few more
months.  C++ is already slated to die with Microsoft's defeat, and Java
will take over for a while, until people discover that it would be neat
with some actual performance, after all.  something new will come along to
kill Java, too, in a few years' time, when Microsoft has invalidated all
investment with a broken, incompatible, our-way-only JVM implementation
that changes faster than Microsoft stock changes hands.

puerile impatience is deadly unless you have parents that do the long-range
planning for you.  the Microsoft market is parented solely by Bill Gates,
and he does _not_ plan for _your_ best interests.  if he could kill Lisp,
he would, and _that's_ the reason Lisp vendors should not flirt with him.
he's made it abundantly clear already that he has _no_ soft spot for good
ideas or elegant design.  it's time people understand that he is no good.
and like all predators that run out of prey, he'll starve to death, soon.

if DUI is "Driving Under the Influence"
then GUI must be "Graphics Under the Influence"