Subject: Re: Lisp is alive, was "Re: Common LISP: The Next Generation"
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1996/09/11
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,comp.lang.dylan,comp.lang.scheme
Message-ID: <>

[Cyber Surfer]

|   Meanwhile, C++ marches on.  What are we doing?  I'm just looking for a
|   way of making programming easier.

I'd like to hear about what you're doing, when and if you are doing
something.  however, your incessant complaints about how you can't use
solutions that exist and blame Common Lisp for it, predicting doom and the
end of the world so repetitiously you could probably make a small program
churn out your articles instead of typing them in, are not all that
exciting, anymore.

if you were a gourmet chef, I can imagine you incessant complaints about
how McDonald's and Burger King and Pizza Hut and all those junkfood places
grow, instead of creating wonderful menus.  but as far as I can understand,
you are not a gourmet chef, either, you're just a McDonald's and Burger
King and Pizza Hut customer who's pissed that you can't get gourmet food
for one dollar a meal, who waltzes into some gourmet restaurants every few
days to tell all the customers that they are doomed because McDonald's and
Burger King and Pizza Hut are "marching on" and while you have never even
dreamed of actually paying to eat at any of the places, you clamor on about
their being doomed.

you would have been thrown out of a gourmet restaurant long ago, not the
least because you're not a paying customer.  here, you have to realize that
what you bring to town is not wanted.  we don't need to hear yet another
time that C++ is supposedly winning and Lisp is supposedly dying, when each
of us are working in each our small ways to solve problems that are much
more important than whichever platform is being shipped most or which
compiler has the highest sales figures this week.

do something constructive.  finish up that Lisp to C compiler of yours.

here's what I'm doing: I set out a year ago to write a small software
development system that would allow me to obtain C code without the pain
and the suffering of writing in C.  part of the motivator was that GNU
Emacs internals are really gory.  another part of the motivation was that I
did not want my Emacs to spend 7% of the CPU just to run that annoying
cc-mode code that doesn't even indent properly, and instead wanted to fully
exploit the Lisp syntax machinery in Emacs.  I wanted type inference based
on function calls and operators, and set out to convert the stupid header
files from being data-oriented to be function-oriented.  I'm probably three
months from making it fully useful to myself.  by then, I will be able to
generate C code for the internals of GNU Emacs directly from the Emacs Lisp
code, and be able to move most of the C code into Lisp, which would make it
possible to redesign the internals without thousands of hours of manual
work, not to mention run the code back again to see if there are any
serious differences, like my being able to detect that some variables
should have been GCPRO'd but aren't.  this small system should make it
possible to perform an arbitrary amount of work when handling the cases
that are too complex for the C macro system, such as some convention that
needs each function to add a small amount of declarations in order to use
some specially designed macros in the body of the code.  it could grow up
to become a Lisp to C compiler, but I only wanted to write C in Lisp so I
could capitalize on the Lisp development tools I have already obtained or
written.  I'm old enough in this game not to be impressed by GUIs that do
nothing but slow me down and hurt my hand.  as I said previously, I'm not
of the "mouse generation", but rather of the "cat generation".  the tools I
need and want are vastly different from those that get shrink-wrapped for
people who should not have become programmers in the first place.

those who do not know Lisp are doomed to reimplement it