How I lost my faith in Lisp

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How I lost my faith [in lisp], Ron Garret

A old comp.lang.lisp newsgroup post has been dug up by Hacker News. The post is: How I lost my faith (2002-02-19) By Erann Gat. @ Source groups.google.com.

i read it at the time it was posted, and just read it again. Note that its author, Erann Gat (aka Ron Garret), is somewhat a controversial figure in comp.lang.lisp. I think primarily having to do with the nasty fight between him and Erik Naggum. Also, i don't know the details, but he also doesn't get alone with another lisp regular Kenny Tilton.

Over all, i'll say i agree with his post there, that lisp isn't that great a language today, as i've expressed many times in the past years. My path to lisp is similar. For me, lisp started in 1998. First, there's awful amount of admiration and respect from me, even just for the association with the phrase “artificial intelligence”. Though, i never really got to the lisp-loving stage. I find problems with the lisp's list and cons in the very beginning, due to my experience with Mathematica. (a question about cons was my first post to comp.lang.scheme and flamed by one Naggum, in 1998. See: Death Of A Troll (My Memory of Erik Naggum).) For real life reasons, i never actually got to code lisp. Only untill around 2006, i started to dig seriously into emacs lisp.

For all my love of elisp, it is primarily due to it being a functional language, and the emacs environment system. I can't say the love came from the lang being lispy. Ι HATE the cons, i HATE the parens (actually i LOVE the regular nested syntax (as in Mathematica), but lisp screwed it so bad). (See: Fundamental Problems of Lisp.) And other identy of lisp that lispers perennially get excited about — the macros — i find abominable and useless. (and Schemer's call-cc, i find to be a lang design feature that i have no interest)

(everytime you use a vector instead of list/cons, the lisp fanatics stare at you like crazy. Everytime you didn't tuck-in the closing parens at end, they think you are a newb. For all the AI automation lisp is renowned for, the lispers at comp.lang.lisp still don't get the concept of automated code formatting. They diddle with code formatting just like every stupid imperative lang. This is particularly disgraceful because lisp's got such a superior syntax at maintaining structural info, which IS the main advantage of purely nested syntax. (See: A Simple Lisp Code FormatterA Text Editor Feature: Extend Selection by Semantic Unit.))

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