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RE: [Axiom-developer] Aldor and Lisp

From: C Y
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Aldor and Lisp
Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 16:11:51 -0700 (PDT)

--- Bill Page <address@hidden> wrote:
> Contrary to some people, I think BOOT was and still
> is very important in the overall design of Axiom. You
> can see everywhere examples of how the language in
> which something is written affects the look and feel
> of things written in that language. Clearly no one
> wanted ScratchPad to look and feel like lisp (but
> perhaps work like lisp, yes). 

Is this still true?  I have heard a couple variations of the BOOT/Lisp
story, but I haven't heard there was a concensus that the look and feel
of Lisp should be avoided.  If so, I would be very interested in the
rational behind this decision.  SPAD/Aldor definitely doesn't look like
lisp, so perhaps I am missing something - how does BOOT usefully impact
the "feel" of Axiom to the normal programmer (who will mostly be
working with SPAD/Aldor?)  Below the level of SPAD/Aldor I guess I'm
confused as to how lisp vs. non-lisp is helpful - are some concrete
examples available?

> So it was an inspired
> idea, I think to first write a language that was
> "half way in between" so as to speak.

The problem with such a language is that it raises the bar even further
for new programmers.  Lisp has survived a VERY long time, is well
defined, and had some truly amazing software created using it - I at
least could use some convincing that BOOT has concrete benefits that
justify another learning curve.  Aldor I can see, since that level of
Axiom coding is geared very specifically toward mathematics, but below
that level it's not as clear to me.  This could simply be ignorance on
my part.

> If one were to drop boot, I think one might risk
> the long term logical integrity of this design.

Are there some design documents somewhere from the original project
that detail this goal?  I confess the impression I had of BOOT was that
it was the consequence of irreconcilable differences among the original
developers about coding style, but perhaps there was more to it than


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