[Haskell-cafe] Re: The programming language market

jerzy.karczmarczuk at info.unicaen.fr jerzy.karczmarczuk at info.unicaen.fr
Sun Jan 27 18:42:53 EST 2008

Derek Elkins writes: 

//Discussion about Lisp in Russia, some people not getting younger, Scheme
with types, and other bedlam// 

> No language that was ever "popular" has ever died as far as I can tell.

This is one of the persistent "truths" which has to be carefully
interpreted. Languages mutate and give offsprings, bearing sometimes the
same name. The original Fortran is undoubtly dead and buried. Long live

In some cases people defend this thesis with sophism. Algol is dead. No
sense in disputing it. So what? It simply was never "popular enough"... 

Since the Nature abhorrs vacuum, all niches tend to become non-empty, and
for any language, there will be some guys who will play with it. Snobol
is alive, APL as well. Perhaps even Simula. 

When can we say that it is *really* dead? How many users? Languages are
"alive" when people who used them are alive, and we didn't have had time
enough to kill all of them, patriarchs... Look, Simon Peyton Jones was
born more or less simultaneously with Fortran. And he is not so terribly
old, is he? (Weeeeelll, perhaps for some of you, but not for me.) 

Anyway, a language, as any other conceptual structure, can be
stored and communicated. You may kill all the "working instances", and
rekindle it later. It such a way it is difficult to kill a religion, or
a political doctrine. But it may die, become useless/unused temporarily.
So, you never really know... 

Jerzy Karczmarczuk 

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