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Forwarding lost copy of mail from BENSON

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Date: 30 Sep 1981 1439-MDT
From: Eric Benson <BENSON at UTAH-20>
Subject: Re: LAMBDA syntax counter-proposal
To: Moon at MIT-MC
cc: Guy.Steele at CMU-10A, Lisp-Forum at MIT-MC
In-Reply-To: Your message of 30-Sep-81 1348-MDT
Via:     UTAH-20; 30 Sep 1981 1639-EDT

"The syntax of the language should be designed for the convenience of
human beings, not for the minor convenience of some program".

Absolutely!  So why, after 20 years, are we still writing programs in the
"machine language" of Lisp, parenthesized lists?  Obviously, only for the
"minor convenience" of EVAL.  We human beings find it much easier to parse
programs with infix operators and the like, prettyprinters and flashing
left parens notwithstanding.  What's more, Lisp is one of the easiest
languages available in which to write a parser or prettyprinter.  My
advice is: Make lambda-lists easy to take apart by programs; that's what
they're for.  But give us mere mortals some syntax, and not just in
lambda-lists either.

-- Eric
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