[REBOL] Re: [RSL/UHURU discussion]
From: joel:neely:fedex at: 26-May-2001 9:46
Thanks for tracking down the Chuck Moore speech. He's
certainly an ...umm... "original" thinker! ;-)
Seriously, I used FORTH heavily several years ago (even
built a custom version of it for an embedded application),
so I think highly of his early creativity, but ...
Graham Chiu wrote:
> Volker Nitsch <[agem--crosswinds--net]> wrote:
> >So it has to keep »simple things simple« for mousers
> >with limited time/interest.
> >If it succeeds, these people will prefer to look at scripts
> >instead of black boxes...
> If I understand you correctly, you are opposed to libraries
> as they dumb down users who could potentially be learning to
> be better programmers by examining scripts and building from
> examples rather than using a black box.
> If so, then that view is shared by some eminent programmers
> including Charles Moore, the inventor of Forth.
> This is taken from his annual fireside chat:
> Of course, such opinions haven't help popularize Forth!
(Parenthetically, I'll say that the above interpretation is
not exactly what I got from Chuck's speech, but that's
beside the point here.)
The main point I want to hit can be illustrated from another
exchange during the fireside chat:
Probably the people who care most about the quality of
code is ironically Microsoft. They seem to make a
corporate effort to write good code. And they fail...
Microsoft is judged by the reliability of its operating
(What about Cisco? Their stuff has to be pretty reliable.)
I don't know what Cisco does.
(They make a lot of routers which basically support the
Internet infrastructure. So nobody sees their software.)
Is it complicated?
(I am sure it is.)
I think of a router as a very simple thing that takes
data in and sends it out. Perhaps it more complicated
Now I don't want to sound judgemental here, but one of the
things that struck me about the FORTH community from early
in my involvement with FORTH (dabbling in late 70's, heavy
usage in early 80's) is their insularity. There was an
attitude of, "If it's not FORTH, it's crap!" that extended
to *everything* including operating systems, utilities,
editors, etc. This was often perceived in the non-FORTH
world as a very elitist attitude:
We have a superior language that lets us be more
productive with less resources than you. You're
welcome to join us, but you'll have to throw away
or rewrite all of your existing code and tools,
because we won't interoperate with that junk.
Two specific examples:
1) There was a real debate over whether to have support
for floating-point numbers in FORTH. Chuck had decided
that for most computations one could use integers, and
just scale the results up or down.
2) There was bitter debate over whether to allow people
to use other text editors and operating system files
for FORTH source code, or whether to stay with the
requirement of FORTH-managed disk space (in 1k "blocks")
and a FORTH-only 1k-at-a-time block editor as the only
way to write code.
The REBOL language certainly doesn't have some of the myopic
constraints of the FORTH language, and RT is certainly
to the larger world with the ability of
REBOL/Command to interact with other software. So it's up
to us as the REBOL community to be flexible and open to
ideas from other folks, even if they're not "pure REBOL".
Bottom line: regardless of what I think of either FORTH or
Perl as a programming notation, I much prefer the Perl
community attitude of "Everybody's welcome; there's more
than one way to do it." I'd rather REBOL have the acceptance
and respect of Perl than to eke out a marginal existence in
the "splendid isolation" of FORTH.
Programming languages: compact, powerful, simple ...
Pick any two!