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Re: if vs. when vs. and: style question

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: if vs. when vs. and: style question
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 03:03:51 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4 (gnu/linux)

"Pascal J. Bourguignon" <>

>> For 50 years CS has been living in the impoverished
>> world of ASCII. This makes people think CS and math
>> are more far apart than they essentially/really
>> are. I wrote this as my wish for python:
>> Isn't it about time lisp also considered
>> a similar line?
> Take a random computer. Type λ. Type lambda.
> Which one was easier?

It is much easier, quicker, and more pleasant to type
"lambda" even though that word isn't the easiest to

It is also much easier and more pleasant to read, and
we (even the Greek when it comes to computing) have
a landslide more experience doing it.

> With this font-lock, you type (lambda (epsilon) (* 2
> epsilon)) and you see: (λ (ε) (* 2 ε)) the buffer
> and file still contain (lambda (epsilon) (* 2
> epsilon)) but it's displayed as greek letters.
> This can of course be expanded to more
> unicode symbols.

It can, but it is better if you see what you type when
you type it, and later, you see exactly what you once
typed and what still is in effect and nothing else.

To have the equivalence of several hundred abbrevs all
expanding back and forth is plain seasickness, which
by the way has been the cause of countless of suicides
during centuries of naval bravado.

> The next step, is to use a system like HAL/S or the
> one implemented for scheme -> LaTeX, which reformat
> formulae in sources using a Mathematic rendering
> engine such as LaTeX (or ASCII art in the case of
> HAL/S).

LaTeX should be used for very specific cases when you
do super-ambitious documents, like manuals and
university papers, that are to be read by *humans*
(who use different computers and printers), documents
that are likely not change continuously other than the
occasional fix, and documents that contain tons of
strange notation because they are intended for the
scientific community of whatever branch they belong.

LaTeX should not be used for the web just as HTML
should not be used in mails. I know it is possible -
question is: is it *sensible*?

To have LaTeX style *programming* is first grade
lunacy: I'd say just a few circuits from short
circuiting. It would be impractical and time-consuming
beyond belief. Just compare the time it takes to write
this mail - no time - to the time typesetting it in
LaTeX. With the \documentclass and packaged and
\subsections and all. You can spend hours on that.

ASCII should always be used for anything that is
intended to be computer used, computed, portab...
no: interchangeable!

> The important point is that you keep the source in
> ASCII, so it's easy to type and to process anywhere.

That's exactly right - and that's the whole thing and
purpose and appeal of it. So if you didn't notice it
by intuition and common sense it is logical as well.

So, apart from the easy, pleasant and consistent input
and much more convenient reading, ASCII also wins the
computer-computer interaction battle, and not just the
human-computer ditto.

> The success of lisp and unix over the decades shows
> that simplier tools win on the long term.
> Contrarily to graphic programming languages (such as
> UML) or other "experiments", or more complex
> systems, object-based or other (LispMachines), which
> will eventually break and be forgotten by most and
> regretted by few).

One hundred percent correct! All those silly tools are
intended so the programmer can be replaced by people
who cannot program. So far that hasn't happen - and
I am confident it never will.

underground experts united

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