Subject: Re: Lisp as a tool of the DoD (was Re: WiRED: Lisp and Smalltalk on "Endangered Species" list)
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: 20 Jun 2002 10:41:22 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <aesbgi$2j8oi$>
Joel Ray Holveck  <> wrote:
| > One point I'm getting at is that if the technical aspects of these
| > applications can't be discussed publicly, it's much more difficult for
| > them to be hyped publicly, and, more importantly, much more difficult
| > for them to be shared.  That's Bad for the Lisp community, Bad for
| > Lisp's market share.
| Harlequin's "Myths and Legends" paper (I may have that title wrong;
| poke around on makes a similar claim: that companies that
| use Lisp keep it under wraps, because they feel that they have a
| competitive advantage.

Paul Grahamis is very explicit about this w.r.t. to ViaWeb
(a.k.a. Yahoo! Store). From his arrticle "Beating the Averages"

	The Secret Weapon
	If other companies didn't want to use Lisp, so much the better.
	It might give us a technological edge, and we needed all the help
	we could get.
	Our hypothesis was that if we wrote our software in Lisp, we'd
	be able to get features done faster than our competitors, and
	also to do things in our software that they couldn't do.
	It must have seemed to our competitors that we had some kind of
	secret weapon-- that we were decoding their Enigma traffic or
	something. In fact we did have a secret weapon, but it was simpler
	than they realized.  No one was leaking news of their features
	to us.  We were just able to develop software faster than anyone
	thought possible.
	And so, I'm a little embarrassed to say, I never said anything
	publicly about Lisp while we were working on Viaweb.  We never
	mentioned it to the press, and if you searched for Lisp on our Web
	site, all you'd find were the titles of two books in my bio.  This
	was no accident.  A startup should give its competitors as little
	information as possible.  If they didn't know what language our
	software was written in, or didn't care, I wanted to keep it that

Now many might say he made up for his silence later, but at the time...


Rob Warnock, 30-3-510		<>
SGI Network Engineering		<>
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy.		Phone: 650-933-1673
Mountain View, CA  94043	PP-ASEL-IA

[Note: and aren't for humans ]