Subject: Re: Is LISP dying?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/07/23
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Greg Menke <>
| Which is why the ability to fork projects is useful.  It might be viewed
| as analgous to a mutation- some succeed, some fail- and sometimes the
| sucesses improve the state of the art.

  nature is the most inefficient selector of all possible selectors: the
  mutation that moves on is simply the mutation hasn't died yet, but every
  mutation dies, it's just a question of when.  if you think we can afford
  to wait for three billion development teams to sort themselves out over
  the next 100 million years, feel free to think in terms of mutations and
  natural selection.  I'm concerned with the massive waste of human
  intelligence and effort required to operate that way, and I'd like to see
  something radically more efficient.

| Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed or something?

  no, I'm always as pissed at people who try to impute a bunch of crap to
  me only because they don't bother to engage their brain while reading.

| You asserted that the software community was suffering from a lack of
| innovation/creativity- please substantiate it then.

  I'm also always pissed at people who claim that I "assert" what they have
  read into what I have written, when they obviously aren't intellectually
  honest enough to understand the difference between "you asserted" and "I
  understood you to say".  this may also explain the naïvité of your views.

  please quote what you understood to be an "assertion", and don't _ever_
  ask people to substantiate what you misunderstand from what they say.
  morons, bad journalists, and disgustingly dishonest politicians do that.
  they should frankly be shot for it, especially if they are so dense as to
  consider the victims of their lies to be at fault for reacting, too.

| I don't believe public update access to offical source is very useful-
| but having a development process where membership is based on technical
| merit and energy improves the liklihood of advancement.

  there is no "official" source.  nobody has the ability to claim that any
  particular version is more official than any other version.  there isn't
  even any concept of "public update access" -- everybody who receives the
  sources has the _right_ to make modifications and redistribute them.

| I still don't perceive why its bad for people to grab the source, make
| changes and release them if they want to.

  I expect others to spend some time getting the necessary clues, too, and
  I said so.  I certainly haven't been thinking the same way for the past
  20 years about people's access to computers or software, and I don't
  expect to be thinking the same way a year from now.  lots of things have
  changed radically over these years, and I have found myself analyzing the
  effects of several crucial decisions and several ideologies and beliefs
  in what the right way is.  I have watched the computer business go from
  supplying lots of operating system and applications software for free
  with the very expensive hardware, to the same software being sold
  separately, to what was called "third-party" software vendors take over
  and make fortunes, to the same operating system or languages becoming
  available on many different computers.  I have seen the world turn from
  many users per machine, to one user per machine, to many machines per
  user.  I have seen the world turn from computers only working in
  isolation, to not being useful at all in isolation.  I don't expect that
  I would have arrived at my views in a single discussion and I don't
  expect anyone else to, either, but there's a difference between being
  able to understand what somebody is saying even if one neither agrees or
  disagrees with it right away, and trying to make it mean something that
  one can agree or disagree with by making it look like something one
  already understands.

  free software _used_ to be how vendors gave their customers their
  operating systems.  the GNU operating system idea was born as a reaction
  to the software hoarding of the Lisp Machine vendors who wasted a whole
  bunch of effort in duplicating features by keeping their code bases
  unavailable to eachother.  Richard Stallman reimplemented features from
  one of the major systems to the other and naturally thought this was a
  huge waste of time and effort, and that those who made him do it were bad
  people.  I have the deepest sympathy for him with respect to the XEmacs
  splinter group -- it's exactly the same kind of stupid duplication of
  effort that he wanted to avoid by making the software free.  I started to
  realize that it would never work to stop duplicating the effort a few
  years ago, but it took a long time to realize just how much worse it is
  for free software than for proprietary software at this time, and in the
  forseeable future.  Open Source may, however, be just what the world
  needs to topple Microsoft (which is necessary regardless of the quality
  of Windows or Excel), and when the evil empire has fallen, we can go back
  to working together more rationally _in_ a market place.  I suspect that
  this will happen, but also suspect that Microsoft must go belly up in a
  very serious way first.  freeing its software would kill it, just like
  freeing other vendor's software kills them in today's climate.  just
  because killing Microsoft is good doesn't mean freeing any other software
  is good.  if there isn't anything worth killing, it is prudent to use the
  poison and the heavy artillery sparingly.

  suppose we blasted all politicians into space.
  would the SETI project find even one of them?