Subject: Re: Apprenticeship [was Re: So, where's the "Javadoc" for COMMON Lisp?]
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sun, 05 Aug 2001 15:14:42 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Peter Wood <>
> If the above is true[2] (even if only in part) it would help to explain
> the *relative* lack of support for the principles of Free software in the
> lisp community.  I have no idea about the numbers, but I think it's a
> safe bet that there is a relationship between the year(s) of origin of a
> language and the present day level of support for Free software in that
> language's community.

  Who are the people who think that free software is beneficial to them?
  Who are the people who believe that creating free software is beneficial?
  What are the kinds of software that are created and distibuted for free?
  How old and mature are the people who want and create free software?
  Can free software people learn to live with something that is broken, or
  do they have this _need_ to fix everything that could be improved, given
  enough free resources?
  How do people who create and distribute free software pay their bills?
  What do people who create and distribute free software hope to achieve,
  if not the recognition that someday results in getting "enough" money?

  What if Common Lisp people think of themselves and others in different
  value terms than young impatient punks who would rather fix something on
  their own in their own way than ask somebody more competent to do it?

  What if the idea that you should modify the source code is an expression
  of the arrogance of youth that you know everything better than everybody
  else and that you discover that this is in fact wrong only after you have
  done a lot of really hard programming so you know that programming is not
  that simple, easy task, anymore?

  What if you discover that getting anything _right_ is so difficult that
  you actually want to get paid very well if you are among the few can do
  it?  If you are in that position, why would you want to _use_ whatever
  somebody gives away for free to _everybody_, obviously not realizing its
  value to either himself or anyone else?

  The simple answers that people who generally do not ask hard questions
  come up with are generally wrong.  Free software is the intended solution
  to a perceived problem.  Is the problem real?  Is the solution able to do
  something about it?  Once it has been tried for a while, has anything
  actually _changed_?  These are uncomfortable questions.  They should have
  been asked long ago.

  I think the lack of interest in free software in the Common Lisp world is
  a sign that Common Lisp people value their time.  This could be true for
  such a simple reason as their higher age than those who get excited by
  the next new language to reinvent everything from scratch.  It could also
  be because Common Lisp attracts people who have become seriously tired of
  all the bad languages out there that offer nothing but more work to solve
  the same old problems.   ///