Why don't people like lisp?
costanza at web.de
Sat Oct 18 19:55:41 CEST 2003
Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters wrote:
> Kenny Tilton <ktilton at nyc.rr.com> wrote previously:
> |People don't like Lisp because of misconceptions, and threads like that
> |help dispel those.
> In my own mind, the biggest impediment to really liking Lisp is not the
> annoying parentheses and awful syntax... it's many Lispers (especially
> those like Tilton).
You don't like Lisp because you don't like some other guy who is using it?!?
> As soon as I try to learn more by reading discussions, I am bombarded
> with weirdly fanatical (and very long) posts that are overwrought with
> many misrepresentations (e.g. Python has "Lisp DNA", when pointedly it
> does not by GvR's indication). Not that different Lispers even bother
> with the same misrepresentations--just so long as they are clear that
> programmers of all other languages are ignorant and stupid.
That's just your interpretation of what they say. I think both "sides"
have their fair share of beliefs that they cannot back by argument
and/or empirical assessments. Every language has features that people
have learned to appreciate because of hands-on experience. It's in fact
an esoteric experience in the truest sense of the word: one that cannot
be described in words.
I haven't actually ever used Python in practice, so I can't really tell
whether the syntax or some other features of Python will make me go
eureka when I use them. And I don't care because I already have made
that experience wrt s-expressions and macros, and I hope that I will
never have to go back to a language without macros. All the counter
arguments I have heard so far seem to be made on the basis that people
haven't made that experience yet that I am talking about. Yes, every
language feature has its dangers. What matters is whether the advantages
outweigh the dangers or not. In the case of macros, IMHO you shouldn't
guess, you should just try.
If you are really interested to find out whether macros work in practice
or not, it is extremely easy to do so. Pick one of the free commercial
or non-commercial implementations of Common Lisp, download the free book
"On Lisp" by Paul Graham from his website, try to understand what he is
saying about macros, try to write your own. Maybe you will get it, maybe
These are just my opinions, they are not proven facts. Actually, I don't
really care whether you try it or not. I have made up my mind, and if
someone asks whether macros are useful or not - and this was the start
of this thread - I am going to try to share my experience.
For every discussion, you can concentrate on what are seemingly the most
extreme statements and counter them on the basis that they are too
extreme, or you can try to find out by yourself what actually hides
beneath those statements. (Or you can just ignore a topic if you're not
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