Re: GNU Extension Language Plans

Peter da Silva (
Thu, 20 Oct 1994 18:21:46 GMT

Normally I would applaud an announcement that someone with some credibility
(I can safely say that the FSF have proven themselves credible in the field
of language implementation) was going to do something to resolve the mish-
mash of lisp and scheme and lispoid language implementations out there. But
this announcement doesn't exactly fill my heart with warm fuzzies.

First of all, it starts off with more of the FSF's recent attacks on Tcl, a
fairly innocuous little language that is really quite good at what it does
even if it doesn't do everything Stallman wants. This tends to make me think
that the real reason isn't to fix a problem, but to promote some subtle
political agenda.

This is reinforced when he starts attacking Sun. Attacking Sun is a great
way to get the iconoclasts on your side, but occasionally Sun does come up
with some good things (NeWS, for example, which people stayed away from in
droves, largely due to FUD) and the folks bashing Sun miss the boat (DEC
has done some good things with OSF/1, but nobody else has managed to pull
a rabbit out of that hat).

So, is the Gnu Extension Language going to be another Motif, another RFS,
another OSF/1? Some great smelly monster that even if it succeeds makes nobody

That brings me to my second problem... the list of extensions. It seems like
about half the announcement is extensions to scheme. Come on, the big advantage
to lisp-like languages is the way their simple semantics and syntax can be
used to bootstrap very powerful concepts.

What's wrong with taking some existing implementation, like STk's interpreter,
and adding a modicum of string and O/S functions? If Tcl is an unholy cross
of Lisp and Awk, this is sounding like some similarly sanctified marriage of
Lisp and Perl.

Oh well, at least it looks like he's got a clue about licensing...

Peter da Silva                                            `-_-'
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