[Haskell-cafe] Wow Monads!

Richard A. O'Keefe ok at cs.otago.ac.nz
Thu Apr 20 00:51:40 UTC 2017

> On 20/04/2017, at 1:52 AM, Joachim Durchholz <jo at durchholz.org> wrote:
> Common Lisp and Scheme were, in their first years.
> They both managed to transition from "fad" to "production-ready" AFAICT, probably after a stabilization period (I dimly recall having read versioned standardization documents).
> Lisp as such... probably. Whenever people with enough raw horsepower to use Lisp in practice met people who didn't, because then it would be a fad from the latter ones. Which pretty much meant everybody who didn't have access to abundant corporate-sponsored or state-sponsored hardware.

Truly strange.  You really did not need "horsepower" to use Lisp in practice.
There were several Lisp implementations for CP/M, and CP/M machines
were hardly "raw horsepower" by any stretch of the imagination.

OK, a University lab of cheap 8086 PCs does technically count as
state-sponsored, but hardly "raw horsepower".  I suppose the price
of TI PC-Scheme (USD95) would have put it out of reach of hobbyists
/sarc.  (I would definitely call PC-Scheme "production-ready" for
its day.)

The problem with Lisp was never garbage collection, or speed, or availability.
It was *unfamiliarity*.  As soon as things like TCL and Python became available,
they were adopted gladly by many programmers, despite being less efficient than
typical Lisps.  To this day, Python forcibly discourages recursive programming
by enforcing a small stack depth, even on machines with abundant memory, thus
ensuring that Python keeps its reassuringly familiar imperative style.  (Yep,
ran into this the hard way, trying to implement a dynamic programming algorithm
in Python.)

I'm very sad to see FUD about Lisp surviving this long.
Much the same FUD was spread about Prolog, despite there being decent
Prolog implementations for cheap 16-bit machines.

It is *bitterly* ironic to see Java adopted by people critical of Lisp.
It just goes to show that the old hardware saying, "you can make a
brick fly if you strap on a big enough jet engine" is true of programming languages.

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