Friday, May 10, 2024

The Way of Lisp or The Right Thing

Interpreting Richard Gabriel with a nod to Tim Peters

Keep it simple.
A simple interface is better than a simple implementation.
Complete is better than simple.
Consistent is better than complete.
Correctness trumps all. Incorrectness is simply not allowed.
If the interface is hard to use, it is probably a bad idea.
If the interface is easy to use, it may be a good idea.
A weak language makes it hard to write good code, but a powerful language makes it easy to write bad code that looks good.
The first thing that comes to mind is not always the best thing.
When performance matters, get your declarations right.
There is always another way to do it, and maybe a better one.
Lists aren’t the only data type.
The right thing and 2 shillings will get you a cup of tea.


Pintor Viejo said...

Ode to a Lisp Machine, as I perform a Turing test...

TLDR >>> import this

I was trying to remember who said, "How can you 'Do your own thing!' if your 'own thing' ain't the right thing?"

Somewhat paradoxically, "fight the power" (i.e., pointy-haired Multics) seems to have lead to the development of Unix, and expediency led to its continued use.

Pintor Viejo said...

The weird thing is, my post here yesterday made complete sense to me at the time. I had been talking to a LLM Eliza-thingy, but they added some "sarcasm guardrail" to it, and of course that derailed me from any meaningful chat with it--and set *me* to hallucinating, apparently. Nobody on HN talked to me either, even with my sober academic approach. What I started out doing was trying to get in touch with the Common Lisp literati, to ask if they had a few cycles to spare on hosting Reddit 1.0 Lisp code, adding a secret McCarthy fraternity hand-shake protocol (in S-expressions) to keep the *grand non lavé* out, and start collaborating on a new Lisp machine. I would be ignored on those forums too, of course, but it might have helped others.

Their contact page referred me to a snail-mail address in the Netherlands, and a feed featuring the latest Lisp blog postings, including this one. According to some moderns of the trendy set, we need to "rewild" the Internet. People contributing quirky comments on the home pages of rugged-individualist web loggers. Free-for-all forums in the style of Usenet. "Why does comp.lang.lisp attract such weird people?"--indeed--would be the only reminder I would need to go back to bird-watching. (GPT would not have let me get away with *that* sarcasm if It [sic] was currently capable of understanding mine--birds...wild...get it? "I don't feel comfortable opening the pod bay doors, er, generating sarcastic blog comments, Dave. Perhaps we could do something more productive and write a Lisp in JavaScript?" [Dave puts on spacesuit.])

Apologies for my [in Comic Book Guy voice] "Worst Neal Cassady impression, *ever*. Weak."

Regards and thanks for the Zen, Joe. I miss Zen too, along with humor (I don't miss Usenet).


I never hung-out on comp.lang.lisp, I was warned that people there were too serious and judgemental of newbies from comp.lang.basic. was more my style:

Pintor Viejo said...

With beginner's mind,
in front of a terminal:
nascent Lisp Machine.