[linux-elitists] Opera beta for linux available

Deirdre Saoirse deirdre@deirdre.net
Sat Oct 7 21:13:23 PDT 2000

On 6 Oct 2000, Mr.Bad wrote:

> I don't. True, as a writer, dialogue is not your only tool. But I bet
> you'd be kind of pissed if you asked someone, "What's a synonym for
> 'beaver dam'?" and they said, "Oh, CHEROKEE has a beautiful word for
> that. You should learn Cherokee first, then figure out that good word,
> and then re-write your piece in Cherokee."

Natural languages have the ability to (one can argue, since there are a
bunch of linguists who *don't* agree) express all concepts. Some are
expressed better in some languages than others. Ownership of objects is
difficult to express in Irish as there is no verb "to have" and the
construct "It is with me" does not mean the same thing.

Artificial languages do not have the ability to express *anything*.

Thus, your comparison really isn't valid.

> Yes, all programming languages have their value -- rarely intrinsic to
> the language itself, but more often due to platforms they've been
> ported to, the quality of the implementations, and the extensions that
> have been provided.

In part, but in many cases it's simply the pragmatism of the approach. For
example, Smalltalk is not a commercial success as far as distributing
software goes, but it has a niche in in-house development, mostly in
academia and sometimes in corporations. The reason for its lack of
commercial succes IS almost exclusively because of the language concept.

> Sure, sometimes there's syntactic constructs that make things easier
> -- but, really, if you're just getting a job done, does it really
> matter whether you say:

> Really? Really really? Or is it rather just picky aesthetics? (Having
> a nice language where you can extend the syntax makes even syntax
> differences fairly moot.)

Rick and I had a talk about this over lunch. About the kinds of things
Prolog was good for as opposed to Lisp as opposed to your typical
imperative language.

I really DO think they have different problem domains. That said, I'm not
going to try and distill a conversation into an email. If I wanted to
write dialogue, I'd be writing fiction.

Which I do....

_Deirdre   *   http://www.sfknit.org   *   http://www.deirdre.net
"More damage has been caused by innocent program crashes than by 
malicious viruses, but they don't make great stories."
                   --  Jean-Louis Gassee, Be Newsletter, Issue 69

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