Subject: Re: C# is not Dylan (was: Re: C# : The new language from M$)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 2000/07/01
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,comp.lang.dylan
Message-ID: <>

* "Scott McKay" <>
| Hey, look, if the only thing that Lispers care about is having
| Lisp syntax, then they are as closed-minded as the C and Java
| communities.  Syntax is trivial.  Get over it.

  Wow, so much _passion_ against somebody caring about something!  But
  why reduce somebody else's concerns to "only thing that they care
  about"?  How rewarding can it be to beat those strawman arguments?

  You may dislike that some people care about syntax and even think
  they are idiots for it, but at least have the honesty and decency to
  judge them for what they think, not for some moronic attitude _you_
  attribute to them out of malice, OK?

  Syntax _is_ important to some people.  So, too, is spelling and
  grammar in natural languages.  Some _always_ "disagree" with this,
  however and it is usually coupled with a hostile "get over it" to
  whoever points out a mistake.  One could psychologize endlessly over
  the causes of such intolerant hostility.

  Syntax evidently forms the ways our languages develop and evolve, if
  the history of programming languages is at all useful to consider,
  which would imply that syntax itself in no small part shapes the way
  we _think_ in our languages, especially when so much of programming
  is all about making our own thoughts expressible _in_ a language, by
  extending it in various ways.  I therefore find it a sign of general
  lack of insight into languages and human use of them to make such an
  unfounded and overly broad claim as "syntax is trivial", especially
  after having complained about Lisp's syntax.  What was that "get
  over it"?  It surely does not apply _only_ to others, does it?

  On the other hand, my chief gripe with fixed-grammer syntaxes is
  that they enforce this artificial separation between the language
  and any expression in the language, but some people never get past
  the level where they only "use" a language. as opposed to be able to
  _live_ with the language.  [A weak reference to Richard Gabriel's
  "Patterns of Software" and _inhabitable_ software.]

  Finally, a twist on the old "beware of programmers with screwdrivers":
  Beware of programming language designers who show disdain for syntax.

  If this is not what you expected, please alter your expectations.