[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Of diamonds and mud:

Your comment about the size of the Interlisp manual reflects a common
misconception.  I think exactly the opposite of what you do about that.
If I were to have to program in a system all of whose functionality
could be described on a 3 by 4 inch card, then I would have to reinvent
the wheel every time I did anything.  The primary, number one reason why
the Lisp Machine is an extremely superior programming environment is
that there is a wide set of packages for doing common things already
availible.  When I want to build something, all the primitives are
there, to a much greater extent than any other environment I have ever

This has nothing to do with portability; you could implement Lisp
Machine Lisp on another computer and everything would work.  Of course,
it would be hard to implement the whole language, because it is so big,
but its size is, in a sense, its most important feature -- I don't want
to use some tiny, easy-to-transport language that doesn't do me any
good.  If this environment is only availibile on the Lisp Machine, then I
will do all my work on Lisp Machines rather than putting up with an inferior
environment simply to gain transportability.

Also, your slurs about "another hack or two in the language" are
unfounded.  You say "we have the opportunity in NIL to mold the ball of
mud" -- do you think you are the first person to think of this?  The NIL
design team has spent immense effort trying to mold, codify, and make
consistent and straightforward a wide range of useful features; a great
deal of effort has been spent on this.  When we in the Lisp Machine
group introduce a new feature, we spend more time on making it clean,
consistent, and well-thought-out than we do on coding and debugging put
together.  I'll let someone else speak for Interlisp; while their
philosphy differs from ours on many points, I'm sure this is not one of