Subject: Re: On comparing apples and oranges (was: Q: on hashes and counting)
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: 21 Oct 2000 00:02:26 +0000
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Barry Margolin <>
| Conversely, if someone only knows one language, and has trouble
| learning other languages, they're probably not a "great programmer".
| The difficulty they have in learning those other languages suggests
| that their thought processes are wedded to the paradigms embodied in
| that language, a sort of tunnel vision.

  Well, this is obviously true, but it cuts both ways.  Suppose you
  are used to several _great_ languages and are asked to work in some
  braindamaged language designed by someone whose design concepts
  never got out of the 50's, how well could you do it?  I have very
  serious problems working with C++ for this simple reason: I have
  this _overwhelming_ urge to redesign the language first.  It is such
  a phenomenally moronic _non-design_ anyone with exposure to a real
  object-oriented language (such as Simula, on which Bjarne Stroustrup
  based his desire to still use C while every other Simula programmer
  in the world would have understood that C would be a good language
  to implement the machinery needed to build a good Simula system at
  best, not a good language in which constantly to reimplement said
  machinery by hand) would have to shut off the alarms that go "it's a
  trap!  run!  run!" (add scary movie soundtrack for best effects),
  while trying not to think how it would be done in a real language.
  Matter of fact, it was a project in C++ (and some class design that
  stood the test of time) that caused me to look real hard at doing
  something other than programming for a living for the rest of my
  life, but then I finally wound up wanting to work with Common Lisp
  after having studied several other interesting languages, including
  Ada and Smalltalk.

  I can't hack Perl, either.  My brain starts to yell "This is wrong!
  This is all wrong!  Don't _do_ this to me!", I lose my concentration
  _real_ quick and I start to need caffeine, rest, fresh air, water,
  you name it, just about anything other than having to deal with that
  Perl shit.  I have pissed away _days_ when I was reimplementing some
  200-line Perl insanity that used a freaking _database_ to store some
  really simple values that would be perfectly happy just sitting in
  the value slot of a symbol.  What _really_ pisses me _off_ with Perl
  is that people work so hard doing so terribl little while they think
  they have worked very little doing something really nifty.  Fools!

  Using such inferior languages is like asking a chef who could have
  done wonders with any kind of raw materials, to use a dirty kitchen,
  a broken refrigerator with food that is about to die a second time,
  broken tools, and brownish tap water that tasted of swamp land.  His
  first task would be to clean up the place.  Creating food in there
  would be the furthest from his mind.  That's how I feel about Perl
  and C++.  I prefer to call it "good taste", not "tunnel vision".

  I don't like rap, either.  Call me intolerant.

  I agree with everything you say, but I would
  attack to death your right to say it.
				-- Tom Stoppard