Subject: Re: Paul Graham describes his new Lisp dialect, "Arc" From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 23:58:11 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Dorai Sitaram | I liked that part too. Before I had access to Unix command-line editing, | I have often written out a directory name without a "cd" in front of it, | and in the course of correction, wondered why it wouldn't just cd anyway | as there was no competing semantic (as in a Lisp1 application with a | non-procedure-or-macro at the car). I think there was even a freeware | shell for OS/2 that did this, but no mainstream Unix seems to have | adopted this tactic. I wonder why, given Unix's fondness for short | commands. Because users should be able to run newly installed programs that have the same name as an existing directory, or be able to name directories the same as existing commands without accidentally running programs that may be seriously damaging. Microsoft would have done something like this because it allows so much mischief to be done to other users. It is not unlike the seriously dangerous habit of having "." first in PATH. Even when "." is last, mischief is certainly possible with common typos. I have seen a lot of software installation scripts and even makefiles that depend on "." in PATH, which I fix to remove that problem. Some people seem not to recognize that search lists and large namespaces constitute a problem when they build new software packages and _know_ they need to run a local version of a particular program. To me, it is the annoying Y2K problem all over again, where people simply fail to provide the computer with information they have but think the computer should intuit, somehow, as if they were people. /// -- The past is not more important than the future, despite what your culture has taught you. Your future observations, conclusions, and beliefs are more important to you than those in your past ever will be. The world is changing so fast the balance between the past and the future has shifted.