Subject: Re: cautios question (about languages)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 1999/07/28
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Friedrich Dominicus <>
| It's about Scheme and Common Lisp.  Does it make sense to learn one or
| the other, or both, or just one of it?

  if you learn Scheme, you need to learn both.  if you learn Common Lisp,
  you don't need to learn Scheme.

| My background: I'm an Eiffel-Programmer, and I think I know quite a bit
| about C/C++ and I refuse to do programming a line of C++.  So Common Lisp
| seems to me a bit like C++.  Is that a correct impression?

  no.  Common Lisp is not a bit like C++.

| Someone compared Scheme Standard to CL standard and this was quite
| frightning.

  this "fear" might mean that Merriam-Webster's Third New International
  Dictionary of the English Language are frightening to a kid and that a
  1000-phrase book for tourists is the best solution to teaching kids to
  write?  I have personally looked at huge reference tomes with a sort of
  "wow! somebody did all that work and organized it for me!" attitude.  I
  also consider it frightening that anyone would sit down and actually
  attempt to design a language and yet leave so much work to its users as
  Scheme does.  the consequence is that Scheme is a much bigger language
  than Common Lisp in practice: Scheme is not a language you can use out of
  the box, so you have to know at least a few implementations and each has
  a million functions, all non-standard and slightly different in most
  ways.  in Scheme, purity rules, so every time someone sees what he
  considers to be impure, he goes off to write his own, creating yet more
  incompatible Scheme implementations and yet more unreadable Scheme code.
  irony has never been quite so strong as in the "lean and mean design" of
  Scheme.  Common Lisp has a "just do it" quality to it that I like a lot,
  especially since it's much, much harder to get a large language beautiful
  than to make a small language beautiful, and Common Lisp is beautiful.

| Scheme comes along with around 50 pages CL with 1100 pages.  So does that
| means Scheme (lean and mean) CL (big and complex) but more powerful?

  it means Scheme was designed to prove something and Common Lisp was
  designed to build something.

  scripting has to fit into a much large scheme of things (pun intended),
  and Scheme is easier to force into other schemes of things because it
  doesn't carry enough weight of its own to be a burden to anyone: in other
  words, if used for scripting, Scheme is a thin veneer of syntax on top of
  a different system's semantics.  for some, this seems to be sufficient.

| CL seems to have far more support for OO-programming and Eiffel is an
| OO-languae so I might like CL more.

  I think you should approach new languages as "a programmer", not "an
  Eiffel programmer".

  suppose we blasted all politicians into space.
  would the SETI project find even one of them?