REPOST: Re: Who needs exceptions (was Re: Two languages, too similar, competing

Joseph A Knapka jknapka at
Mon Dec 31 06:16:13 CET 2001

Cliff Wells wrote:
> On 30 Dec 2001 14:36:28 +0100
> Nils Kassube <nika at> wrote:
> > I never claimed that an OS should be written in Python. There are
> > several good all purpose languages who are better for this task,
> > e.g. Lisp and Ada.
> Sorry, I was being somewhat facetious.  Unfortunately I am not familiar
> with either Lisp or Ada so I can't comment on their appropriateness for
> low-level work.  Since you aren't the first person I've heard advocate Ada
> for this type of work, I have to wonder why it hasn't been done (or has
> it?).  Lack of such an OS doesn't prove anything, but it does beg the
> question.

Many embedded systems run Ada "on the metal" -- that is,
no "real" OS, just Ada (compiled down to native code, natch)
for everything from application logic to interrupt handlers.
So arguably there are many tiny OS's implemented in Ada. (I
have no personal experience with Ada either, just picked this
tidbit up by lurking on embedded lists. Someone will no doubt
correct me soundly if I'm leading you astray :-)

Lisp, OTOH, strikes me as an unlikely vehicle for an OS
implementation; I think of Lisp as being at about the same
level of abstraction as Python (but with much less appealing
syntax, and a much greater functional emphasis). But I've
only written enough Lisp to get the hang of it, not enough
to be an expert.


-- Joe
"I should like to close this book by sticking out any part of my neck
 which is not yet exposed, and making a few predictions about how the
 problem of quantum gravity will in the end be solved."
 --- Physicist Lee Smolin, "Three Roads to Quantum Gravity"

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