Subject: Re: In praise of Java. From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001 14:29:50 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * Christian Lynbech | There are obviously some assumptions here. Sun marketing has not been | very explicit on the nature of the inflow of Java programmers. They have | only stated that X is going up, not that the Y's are going down. There appears to me to be more female Java programmers than the ratio is for many other languages. The Lisp family also appears to attract more female programmers than the C crowd ever has been able to. Perhaps Java shares with Common Lisp a notion of higher usefulness without having to deal with a lot of nerdy-macho "braggable stuff". I may be biased, but I tend to find a much lower tendency among female programmers to be dishonest about their skills, and thus do not say they know C++ when they are smart enough to realize that that would be a lie for all but perhaps 5 people on this planet. Look at the people on USENET who are completely unafraid to demonstrate their massive ignorance of any topic, who defend their idiotic remarks rather than try to learn from criticism or counter-evidence or counter- information. They are almost all male. How often do you find males who think "I gotta know this stuff better before I post anything"? They, like many females do not post at all, just _listen_. If you give the average young male programmer an impossible task, he will lie that he has completed it and hope he has before he is discovered. That never happens with female programmers, who seem to start off with the attitude of mature and experienced male programmers. Catch a female programmer in cheating and lying, and she is embarrassed and wants to fix it and make amends. Catch a male programmer in cheating and lying, and he fights you to salvage his pride, and definitely does not want to fix it or make amends unless you threaten him. C++ is a language that encourages such cheating and lying because you _have_ to tell your compiler something you cannot possibly know, yet, such as the type of all your variables and functions, and then you make up a reality that fits the lies. This does not appear to appeal to many female programmers. Java is a _lot_ better than C++ in this regard in that the amount of required cheating and lying is dramatically reduced by the more flexible type system and the existence of so much more stuff that dictates the types to use. (Common Lisp is even better, of course, but it just not "there" when people look for something to learn if they think they like programming computers.) If my observations are more than just my probably biased impressions, I say: leave the nerdy-macho languages to the young cave men, and let us find ways to tell the rest of the potential programmers about programming languages for thinking, honest people. In my view, Java is not horrible. It can be quite good. I have seen fewer idiots use Java than use C++, which seems like a veritable magnet on the far left side of the Gauss curve, and the teaching material for Java is so much better than that for C++. Perhaps Java can actually be a real programming language, and then we can tell them about the benefits of aa transition to Common Lisp, a proces which we know just blows the mind of those C++ cave men. Besides, I would not mind seeing less of the "early man" attitude of "first my pride, then the truth" which seems to come with the average male programmer. Or perhaps it is just that only the really good female programmers "make it" and that the desire to brag to hide one's ignorance is _necessary_ in this cave-man-dominated culture. If so, perhaps the only benefit of Java is that it reduces the need to brag so much because the language is actually possible to master. Getting people to stop bragging about their non-existing skills may in fact be a necessary step to teach them Common Lisp, which appears to require more thought and less "action" and has very little nerdy-macho appeal in obscure details with which to impress other competitive young cave men. /// -- 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.