Subject: Re: In praise of Java.
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 01 Dec 2001 14:29:50 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* 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.