Mailing List Archive: 49091 messages
  • Home
  • Script library
  • AltME Archive
  • Mailing list
  • Articles Index
  • Site search

[REBOL] Re: [RSL/UHURU discussion]

From: joel:neely:fedex at: 26-May-2001 9:46

Hi, Graham, 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 ... see below. 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: > > >
[quotation snipped]
> 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 systems. (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 than that. 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 reaching out 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. -jn- ------------------------------------------------------------ Programming languages: compact, powerful, simple ... Pick any two! joel'dot'neely'at'fedex'dot'com