[linux-elitists] Opera beta for linux available

Deirdre Saoirse deirdre@deirdre.net
Sun Oct 8 10:58:13 PDT 2000

On Sun, 8 Oct 2000, Eugene Leitl wrote:

>  > Artificial languages do not have the ability to express *anything*.
> Hogwash. Proof: you have a job.

I meant any arbitrary thing. For example, I can't express the difference
between thought and reality accurately in programming. Except perhaps with
Prolog. :)

>  > 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.
> Smalltalk is not a bad language, I've read some reports of a company
> exclusively using it. (It may have warts, I've never used it).

Smalltalk's concept was to have an entire operating environment rolled in
as a part of the language and, when saving code, you're actually saving
the state of the environment.

Needless to say, this has mondo overhead. Some of the more recent 

>  > 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.
> Prolog was just a language front end to an inference engine (which you
> can write in a few screenfulls of Lisp).

Prolog is a language that's really good for fuzzy logic. Lisp however is
much better at binary tree AI.

> Lisp isn't a purely functional language as you well know, you can mix
> imperative and functional stuff ad lib. The major minus of Lisp that
> it has never been enforcibly standartized, had a relatively fat memory
> footprint and initially lousy compilers and arithmetics, which hasn't
> been true for a while.

I know it's not purely functional, which is one reason why it's not used
these days to demonstrate what a functional language IS.

> The reason Lisp is not being used now widely is the same reason Forth
> is not: vogues and subcriticality.

Actually, I suspect is there is a more simple reason: most people don't
think in functional programming. Some people do and they're drawn to
languages like Lisp. 

For most people, imperative languages make more sense.

As for prolog, I described it yesterday as "programming via wff 'n proof"
which made my mom shudder. (http://www.wff-n-proof.com/ -- naturally)

_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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