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ziggy (25)

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Journal of ziggy (25)

Wednesday September 27, 2006
10:04 PM

Lisp is dying. Film at 2300

[ #31144 ]

Continuing on the same theme as earlier this week:

Before Paul Graham, Lisp was dying. It really was, and let's not get all sentimental or anything; it's just common sense. A language is always either gaining or losing ground, and Lisp was losing ground all through the 1990s. Then PG came along with his "I'm not talking to you if you're over 26 years old" essays, each a giant slap in our collective face, and everyone sat up and paid attention to him in a hurry. And a TON of people started looking very seriously at Lisp.

Lisp might or might not have experienced a revival without Paul's essays, but it's moot: he showed up, and Lisp got real popular, real fast. And then he said: "Don't use it!" Sort of. I mean, that's effectively what he said, isn't it? By deciding to pre-announce Arc, he Microsofted Lisp. Killed it with vaporware. It's a great strategy when you're an evil empire. I don't think that's exactly what Paul had in mind, but let's face it: that's what happened.

(From Steve Yegge's essay, Lisp is not an acceptable Lisp.)

Or, to be totally blunt, Perl6 may be taking a loooooong time before it is finally released, but it's moving ahead at mach 6 compared to Arc. :-)

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  • I think he means Osborned.

    Saying anything got Microsofted would mean it was a huge success despite being crap :-)
    • No, I think he meant Microsofted. As in killed with a pre-emptive product announcement for something that never shipped. As in Windows for Pen Computing vs. Go [].

      For Paul to have Osborned, he would have to have developed Lisp, shipped it, and killed it with a premature announcement about how great Arc was going to be.

      To be sure, this is an arcane secondary definition for 'Microsofted'. :-)
  • It is my contention that you don't know a programming language well enough until you have a deep understanding of its faults.

    I've begun to learn Lisp, but I noticed so much Lisp advocacy (every language community does this) that I started to wonder what parts of the language weren't all roses and rainbows. Thank you for that link.
    • I guess I should note that part of why the link is good is that it's not one-sided, it contains *discussion*. I'm more interested in hearing arguments from various perspectives then just finding out what's "wrong" with every language. :)
  • If I ever decide to use Lisp, I'll just use scheme. Always seemed more orderly to me.

    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers