Posts Tagged ‘lisp’

I see Yegge’s Lisp is not an Acceptable Lisp post has been submitted to reddit again. What he actually means is I don’t like Lisp.

Lisp is an Acceptable Lisp

If a Lisp has s-expressions, cons cells and atoms, it is probably an acceptable lisp even if it isn’t to you or Yegge. Emacs Lisp – fine1, cripple scheme from SICP – fine, SBCL – fine, Clojure fine. Racket fine. They’re all fine perfectly acceptable lisps.

I don’t care to dispute any of his points – none of them have anything to do with lispiness. They are just reasons he doesn’t like lisp.

A programming language doesn’t owe you anything. If I said Perl 5 is not an acceptable Perl maybe because it isn’t fast enough, or I’m not good enough to write a parser and port it to alternative runtimes people would rightly think I was crazy. Those complaints have nothing to do with what makes Perl Perl.

Ruby is not a Lisp

The related meme Ruby (or Python or Perl) is an acceptable Lisp is even more ridiculous. Roughly translated that means I don’t know what Lisp is. Yes, even if it is Norvig saying it.

I can’t [be bothered to] define precisely what makes a Lisp, but I know what it is when I see it. Ruby aint it.

I thought the X is or is not an acceptable Lisp had gone for good.

I may be a couple of years late to this rant, but it felt good to get it off my chest.

1. Obviously I have plenty of complaints, like lack of proper lexical scoping (require ‘cl hacks not withstanding) and reader macros, but it is still an acceptable, even a pretty good lisp.


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