[REBOL] Re: OT, What's Native
From: ed:brittlestar at: 28-Jun-2004 23:56
> EOC> My point was mainly that simplicity may not be a significant factor
> EOC> why a language or technology is adopted.
> GS> Of course --- on the contrary, simplicity goes against wide
> GS> adoption, because it's very uncommon, and often requires more
> GS> effort.
Is further pursuit of simplicity (or any other ideal, such as compactness,
platform-independence, etc.) a good idea, if it can be determined that
simplicity does not represent an inflection point for the adoption of REBOL?
As a contrived example, let's imagine that we have survey data showing that
developers do not distinguish between interpreter sizes below 1MB-- anything
under a megabyte is equally valued in terms of compactness. Further, imagine
learning that Carl feels that with one exclusive year of work, /Core could
be squeezed down to 100KB, and /View to 200KB. Would the pursuit of this
reduction reasonable, given that no significant increase in adoption (or
software revenues) could be expected?
I'm asking these questions not to devalue the principles upon which REBOL is
based, but to discover their cost vis a vis traditional drivers of software
tool markets: speed, scalability, robustness, interoperability, etc.
Programming languages are highly elastic goods; for any given language,
there exists an abundance of alternatives available. REBOL and other
languages do not live solely within an artist's solipsistic universe, they
exist within markets competing for developer's minds.
> EOC> The human genome is said to contain 60% bloat.
> Actually, most recent studies show that what was considered to be
> "bloat" (the so called "junk DNA") could actually be the most
> important part of it. <snip>
Well perhaps that bloat is a result of a backward compatibility layer, or
protein-plug-'n-play :-) Reminds me of the saying that "one man's garbage is
> Anyway, the human genome is the result of evolution, not design. <snip>
The human genome (and those of other biological creatures) is an example of
a system that has adapted and survived in competitive environment. Design
and evolution are not mutually exlusive. Can the REBOL's design evolve to
compete more aggressively in the wild, or is that only an option for
monopolies and OSS? :-)
From an evolution standpoint, success on small, isolated or endangered
islands does not bode well for survivability. I admit, it makes for
fascinating diversity and beautiful plumage, though :-)
> EOC> Nature & society
> EOC> at large seems to have intricate needs and complex requirements.
> EOC> pressures often result in the success of creations that simply work,
> EOC> particular bias toward things that work simply.
> Fine, but between two things that work, I choose the simpler one.
I too prefer simpler solutions, to the extent I can appreciate the
difference. I'm finicky in many ways, but I can't say that others is the
programming world share my obessions.
> Programming is a form of art, not industry; <snip>
In that light, all craft can be said to be art. (My code is exempt, though!)
This may satisfy artists, but not artisans.
> EOC> Perhaps the issue is intuitiveness ("the path of least surprise")
> EOC> than simplicity. I think that's what Ruby's founder was saying. Larry
> EOC> also justifies some of the inconsistencies of Perl based on his
> EOC> that human thought/language also harbors fundamental inconsistencies.
> If we're talking about making something widely accepted, surely.
> Though it's surprise that will be giving you knowledge. :) I don't
> think you can really learn from "the path of least surprise". A
> good design is always surprising (positively, hopefully :), like a
> great painting or the building of a great architect.
The suggestion is that the surprise is negative and frustrating. "The path
of least surprise" is more about ensuring that the syntax or behavior of a
language does not disrupt the programmer's ability to express code.
> EOC> It matters little if you have a language or technology that is
> EOC> powerful, etc. if you fail to reach a critical mass for adoption. It
> EOC> people that matter, they're the ones writing the programs. Human
> EOC> is not something that can be corrected; it's baiscally a fixed
> EOC> that all technologies accommodate to some extent.
> It matters to me; I'm not saying that I don't care about REBOL
> being successful, however if making it successful would make it
> uninteresting to me, then why would I want it?
> Is a poet less important if it is not successful amongst the mass?
Balance is important. Poets need money for food (and let's not forget wine,
women and song). Poets want to write poems, right? And not to be forced to
take part-time jobs waiting tables and living with their parents. :-)
And not all artists fit the mold of Ayn Rand objectivistists. Many artists
create in order to form a connection with others, rather than to exclusively
satisfy personal ideals.
Late, must sleeep. My posts are overly long and bloated, so I'll end them
here. My points are long past made anyway. Any further comments I'll post on
a weblog. Thanks for reading.