New kid on the block / introduction

Tom Novelli tnovelli at
Mon Nov 6 16:55:41 PST 2006

On 11/4/06, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky <znmeb at> wrote:
> Programming languages, their creators and their users co-evolve. It's
> that simple. There is no "big picture" -- it's a complex adaptive
> system, as defined by John Holland.
> When you come right down to it, there are really only half a dozen or so
> truly unique programming languages.

I'd like to address this one point, because it's a central theme for
the TUNES project... It hasn't been dealt with on the website but it
will be.. think of this as a rough draft:

Computers *could* be a lot more useful, without all the headaches
about incompatibility and such, if only someone had the foresight to
figure out how to please everybody.  Problem is, everyone who really
studies computers gets distracted by minor details and goes off on
some tangent, only adding to the confusion.  Maybe it's "The Geek
Syndrome" or maybe it's just the nature of computers.  Either way,
it'll take a concerted effort to get over this hurdle.

I realize there's a learning process... every programmer goes through
it, and we're still in it as a whole.  We want to speed up that
collective learning process.  So for example when someone says "I have
a great new idea" we can say "It's not new and it's not so great
either" -- and this is where we have to do better, by saying it in a
way they can understand, without belittling them.  Experimentation is
great, and we don't want to discourage it, but we're sick of all the
hype surrounding every nifty little toy OS/Library/Language that comes

BTW, I'm not passing judgement on Ruby.. I actually looked into it
some more over the weekend.  It seems to pull together the important
parts of 4 or 5 languages on your list... which raises the question--
are they really unique?

I'm on my way to a jam session... there'll be a dozen people playing a
half-dozen different instruments, variations on two basic mechanisms
(strings and winds), all tuned the same, all reading the same notes...
and we can play tunes written over 400 years ago.  If only my life as
a programmer were as easy as my life as a musician!

 - Tom

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