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Steve Yegge describes what’s wrong with Lisp

Steve Yegge, Lisp is Not an Acceptable Lisp:

You’ve all read about the Road to Lisp. I was on it for a little over a year. It’s a great road, very enlightening, blah blah blah, but what they fail to mention is that Lisp isn’t the at the end of it. Lisp is just the last semi-civilized outpost you hit before it turns into a dirt road, one that leads into the godawful swamp most of us spend our programming careers slugging around in. I guarantee you there isn’t one single Lisp programmer out there who uses exclusively Lisp. Instead we spend our time hacking around its inadequacies, often in other languages.

Steve does a very good job of articulating a lot of the things I dislike about Lisp, especially Common Lisp. One interesting thing, though, is that a lot (but not all) of the issues he raises are addressed by Dylan.

One of the more interesting things about Dylan in this context is that, despite not adopting a traditional message-based object system like Smalltalk or Objective-C (or their more static cousins C++ and Java), Dylan does push objects all the way down, but in a functional style. It appears to work pretty well, making it easy to define both nouns and verbs in the combinations a developer might need, and even (through its hygienic macro system) allow developers to extend language syntax too.

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