Subject: sparse & dense [was: Re: Namespaces, packages, and methods ]
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: 16 May 2001 04:06:58 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <9dsud2$8lv9n$>
Kent M Pitman  <> wrote:
| I call languages that err for very few reasons "dense" and languages that
| err in many situations "sparse".  There is some value to a sparse language
| because it recognizes errors in a timely way and doesn't just turn good
| data to bad at the point of error and then continue merrily on its way.

This is precisely why I prefer "sparse" command-line shell command sets --
because I frequently make the mouse-o blunder of accidentally pasting a
selection-buffer full of random text into a shell window. Oops!! Sparse
shell languages are (somewhat) less likely to (say) delete all your files.


p.s. Actually, in the above case what I probably really want is a
large average Hamming distance between the shell language and the
things I typically select with the mouse. Since things I select
are typically either programs or plaintext, I guess that means I
want shell commands that look like *neither*! (Hmmm... And people
say that Unix commands are "unfriendly"... Maybe not!)

Rob Warnock, 31-2-510
SGI Network Engineering		<URL:>
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