Re: Microsoft aflare

From: Simon McClenahan (
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 20:33:48 MST

From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>

> Gordon Worley wrote:
> >
> > Looks like the boys at MS like what Eli is doing:
> >
> >
> >
> > There's one real language, and then lots of `skins' that make the
> > language pretty to you (though maybe not anyone else). Hmm, I seem to
> > remember reading about this somewhere before ...
> We can either invent Flare all at once, or watch it be reinvented, poorly,
> one piece at a time, over the next ten years. Let's at least give Microsoft
> one unified source to steal their ideas from, that's my motto.

Uh, sorry, I find these comments rather a bit arrogant, irrespective of what I
think of Microsoft research, Flare specification, or this particular
journalist's opinion. If I was more technically knowledgable about the
development and history of C, C++, VB and Java, and the plethora of procedural,
object-oriented, declarative, functional, annotative, etc. high level languages,
I am positive that Flare wouldn't be that much of an innovation in software
development tools to be considered something worth plaguerizing by the evil
empire of Microsoft, Sun, IBM, or anyone else.

IMHO, the only thing "skinnable" about Flare is that its eXtensibility comes
from the X in XML. There are other ways and other languages that have this
ability already. There are competitions for obscure programming languages, or
Rapid Application Development (RAD) environments, that could quite easily
conform to the goals of Flare. Let's not forget the IDE, so that developers can
model, write, test, debug, etc. in this supposedly useful language (Eclipse or
NetBeans plugins come immediately to mind if you want to start somewhere).

The reason why software sucks is because the biggest crime in Software
Engineering, again IMHO, is everyone tries to re-implement the wheel time and
time again. The .net framework with its CLR and more predominantly J2EE with its
JVM just happen to be the latest development framework technologies that are
popular now. These frameworks allow developers to write better object-oriented
code, because developers find it easier to be oriented by programming complex
systems with objects, so to speak. Flare may be object-oriented too, but the
runtime environment is just as critical as the application code. Maybe Flare# or
JFlare has potential as a human programmable language, but Flare as I understand
it is very weak. If I am misunderstanding the scope of Flare and it does indeed
incorporate a runtime system, then I think it will still be a futile project if
you compare it to a project like Mono, the open source attempt at implementing
.NET framework, which is slowly but surely copying .NET, with I assume more
people working on it than Flare.

Personally, I think .NET (and hence C#) has great potential to be even better
than the "traditional" J2EE and Java system. +1 for Microsoft for at least
submitting the C# language to a standards organization like the ECMA.

I find it highly implausible that Microsoft would find features to steal from
Flare rather than the multitude of languages that have existed for a very long
time. Sincerely, good luck with Flare, but if I was in charge, I would be
focusing my efforts elsewhere.


Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free address at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:37 MDT