Subject: Re: Lisp is not an interpreted language
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1996/11/13
Message-ID: <>

* Mukesh Prasad
| Since its inception, Lisp has been placed by programming language
| theorists in the "interpreted" category.  The language itself, not any
| particular implementation.

this should make you think very carefully about the qualifications of those
"programming language theorists".

| However, Lisp systems have improved in technology.  In the early days,
| Lisp interpreters directly interpreted the original source.

the `read' function, which transforms a character string (the original
source) into lists/trees, has been with the language since the very
earliest days.  nothing ever saw the original source code in the Lisp
system apart from this function, called the Lisp reader.

| An obvious improvement was to "compact" the source code and to get rid of
| comments, spaces etc prior to interpretation.

you have no inkling of a clue to what you talk about.

| Another improvement was to replace the original source code by more
| compact and easy to interpret "byte code".

geez.  it appears that your _only_ exposure to "interpreted" languages are
BASIC systems.  it is quite unbelievable that anyone should want to parade
the kind of ignorance you display across so many newsgroups.

| To confuse matters more, the newer versions of the "compile" function are
| more sophisticated, and can generate machine code into which the
| interpreter transfers the flow of control via a machine level jump
| instruction.

let me guess.  you're an old ZX-80, TRS-80, CBM-64, etc, hacker, right?
you know the way the old BASIC interpreters worked, by heart, right?  and
you think "interpreter" has to mean the same thing for toy computers in the
early 80's and a language "designed primarily for symbolic data processing
used for symbolic calculations in differential and integral calculus,
electrical circuit theory, mathematical logic, game playing, and other
fields of artificial intelligence" (McCarthy, et al: Lisp 1.5; MIT Press,
1962) in the early 60's.

| "Interpreted" and "compiled", when applied to languages, have specific
| meanings.

this is perhaps the first true statement I have you make in several weeks.
however, the specific meanings are not the ones you have in mind.

| This and other such complicated gems occurring in this thread, are
| neither compiled nor interpreted, but simple and pure BS, arising out of
| ignorance, bias and lack of clear thinking.

right.  I was about to flame you for being a moron, so thanks for laying
the foundation.  you don't know what you're talking about, you don't know
what Lisp is like, you don't know any of Lisp's history, you refuse to
listen when people tell you, and, finally, you don't seem to grasp even the
simplest of ideas so that you can express them legibly.  in brief, you're a
moron.  I sincerely hope that Motorola made an error in hiring you.

Please address private replies to "erik".  Mail to "nobody" is discarded.