Number of languages known [was Re: Python is readable] - somewhat OT

Nathan Rice nathan.alexander.rice at
Fri Mar 30 07:37:04 CEST 2012

>> Here's a thought experiment.  Imagine that you have a project tree on
>> your file system which includes files written in many different
>> programming languages.  Imagine that the files can be assumed to be
>> contiguous for our purposes, so you could view all the files in the
>> project as one long chunk of data.  The directory and file names could
>> be interpreted as statements in this data, analogous to "in the context
>> of somedirectory" or "in the context of somefile with sometype".  Any
>> project configuration files could be viewed as declarative statements
>> about contexts, such as "in xyz context, ignore those" or "in abc
>> context, any that is actually a this".  Imagine the compiler or
>> interpreter is actually part of your program (which is reasonable since
>> it doesn't do anything by itself).  Imagine the build management tool is
>> also part of your program in pretty much the same manner.  Imagine that
>> your program actually generates another program that will generate the
>> program the machine runs.  I hope you can follow me here, and further I
>> hope you can see that this is a completely valid description of what is
>> actually going on (from a different perspective).
> [...]
>> What does pushing the abstraction point that far up provide?
> I see why you are so hostile towards Joel Spolsky's criticism of
> Architecture Astronauts: you are one of them. Sorry Nathan, I don't know
> how you breathe that high up.
> For what it's worth, your image of "everything from the compiler on up is
> part of your program" describes both Forth and Hypercard to some degree,
> both of which I have used and like very much. I still think you're
> sucking vacuum :(

We live in a world where the tools that are used are based on
tradition (read that as backwards compatibility if it makes you feel
better) and as a mechanism for deriving personal identity.  The world
is backwards and retarded in many, many ways, this problem is
interesting to me because it actually cuts across a much larger tract
than is immediately obvious.

People throughout history have had the mistaken impression that the
world as it existed for them was the pinnacle of human development.
Clearly all of those people were tragically deluded, and I suspect
that is the case here as well.

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