Let's stop the flames on USENET

Cyber Surfer cyber_surfer@wildcard.demon.co.uk
Mon, 26 May 1997 17:39:23 +0100

At 19:19 25/05/97 -0400, Paul Prescod
 <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:

>It isn't the people you are attacking that I am concerned about. There
>are a few dozen of them. It is the thousands of people *reading* and
>coming to opinions of various languages and groups that I am worried
>about. Now, when any of us promote Lisp anywhere people's neurons snap
>shut and they think: "Another Lisp fanatic -- they can't speak
>objectively" -- just as they thought about Amiga users, OS/2 users, and
>so on and so forth. Linux has escaped the fanaticism ghetto through
>*code*, not flamage.

I fully agree with this point, and your other points that followed it.
You might even find a few pages devoted to this subject, making
similar points, in my homepage!

Even close friends give me blank looks when I mention Lisp.
If they won't listen, who the hell will? I have no delusions about
being able to "convert" non-Lisp people, wether on UseNet or
face-to-face. When someone is interested, I'll be happy to
answer their questions as well as my humble abilities allow,
but that's all I can do.

The mistake that I think too many Lisp people make is in thinking
that the Truth is all that's necessary to convince people. The reality
may be much harder. Years of observation tells me that if people
were that easy to convince, then we'd all be using the same tools,
the same OS, and the same programming language.

So, I'm a pluralist. I believe that there are many "Truths", one for
each and _every_ one of us. Some of us are cursed with more
than our fair share; we can appreciate the virtues of more than
one viewpoint. I almost envy those who can believe that whatever
tools are used by the people they know are _the_ tools. It's so much
simpler than the complicated world in which there are alternatives.
Where there are (acknowleged) alternatives, there are also choices,
conflicts of belief, and demands to justify your beliefs.

One unpleasant but very objective Truth is that, whatever way
people orient their boiled eggs, they'll resist any argument to change.
As you said, they need a reason, not words. Like a killer app.

The current hullubaloo about the web suggests that a web server
might be a good kill app, but I get the impression that this isn't one
that everyone here would choose. Besides, there are enough
people using non-Lisp based web servers to disqualify that idea.

Well, ok. let's have some suggestions for alternatives, and see
if there's anything better. It doesn't have to be something that
exists already. In fact, there may be some advantages to ideas
that have in the past been considered to be "impossible", because
nobody succeeded in making them work before. Perhaps nobody
tried doing it in Lisp before! Perhaps nobody tried it using a LispOS.

BTW, I'll be interested in using a LispOS regardless of how many/few
people use it. That may be coz I'm just a programmer, not a salesman.
If people consistantly say "no" to something, then I lose interest in
pushing it at them. See Scott Burson's excellent comments on _that_.

As Chis Bitmead says, let's continue this on UseNet. However,
let's make it just _one_ newsgroup, please. Any suggestions for
killer apps could go there, too. That way this list can be kept free
for the real LispOS issues. It's too easy to get distracted by side
issues, and this IMHO is one of them. Either we create a LispOS
or we don't. Asking "Why?" is just a waste of this list's bandwidth.

So, comp.lang.lisp?

Martin Rodgers
Enrapture Limited
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