Choosing a programming language as a competitive tool

Douglas Alan nessus at
Sat May 5 22:34:32 EDT 2001

"Tim Peters" < at> writes:

> [Roy Smith]
> > Lisp is a different way of doing things entirely.

> [Douglas Alan]
> > Not true.  Python is practically a dialect of Lisp, but with a
> > different syntax.

> This comes as a great surprise to Guido whenever it's claimed, because he's
> never been a Lisp programmer and seems to actively dislike what he's seen of
> Lisp programming styles.  I don't deny the similarities, but I wouldn't be
> surprised if the time machine worked its magic so that one of these days we
> wake up in a world where Lisp is claimed to be a clumsy dialect of Python
> <wink>.

I agree that calling Python a "dialect of Lisp" would be too strong a
statement.  But so is saying that Lisp is "entirely different".  In
the spectrum of languages, Python is much closer to Lisp than it is to
C or Fortran or Basic or Pascal or Perl.  And the influence of Lisp on
Python is clear: automatic memory management, variable binding by
object sharing, call by object sharing, lists as a central data
structure, bignums, an interactive interpreter, consistent and
straight-forward semantics, etc.  Guido certainly doesn't seem to be
particularly fond of encouraging needlessly recursive solutions.  But
then again, neither do many Lisp programmers, despite the way Lisp is
usually taught in college.


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