Python is far from a top performer according to benchmark test...

Michele Simionato michele.simionato at
Wed Jan 14 07:24:54 CET 2004

Jacek Generowicz <jacek.generowicz at> wrote in message news:<tyf65fgdm81.fsf at>... 
> Lest anyone infer that Lisp has an "application niche" consisting of
> AI and theory of programming languages ... take a look at
> and glance at the column on the left.

Okay, let's restate my point in this way: if you need a very big
programming power (which, I agree, is not only needed in A.I. & similia),
then Lisp is a good choice. Most of the people in the word don't need
a very big programming power, though. They can need a very big numerical 
power, then they use Fortran. Or they can need moderate programming power 
and moderate numerical power (such as in bioinformatics) and then they use
Perl or Python.

> I suspect that Aahz' working definition of "successful" had more to do
> with success in terms of popularity, rather than success in terms of
> technical excellence: please remember that quality and popularity are
> very weakly correlated.
> If you want to analyze the popularity of a technology, you will get
> far better insight by studying the sociological and historical
> contexts surrounding it rather then its actual technical merits.

I completely agree.
> For example, how many readers of this post will be surprised to learn
> that (most) Common Lisp implementations compile to efficient native
> machine code, that Common Lisp has an ANSI standard which includes
> very powerful support for object-oriented programming (to name but two
> features that everybody "knows" it doesn't have) ?
> Go on, raise your hand if you thought that "Lisp" is a slow,
> interperted functional langugage.

Never thought so. IMHO people don't use List because they don't need it, 
not because they think it is a slow, interperted functional language.
There are simpler alternative languages that are good enough for most
people and more suitable in terms of libraries (i.e. Fortran for
numerics, Perl for bioinformatics). Still, Lisp is successful for a
certain audience (I concede, not restricted to A. I. only, but rather 
small anyway). So, it is successful but not popular. This was my
point, in contrast to Aahz's view, and I think we agree.

     Michele Simionato

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