Re: software progress (RE: Hardware Progress: $319/GF)

From: Eugen Leitl (
Date: Sat Jun 01 2002 - 13:17:57 MDT

On Sat, 1 Jun 2002, Sam Kennedy wrote:

> >I meant an awful lot more with software progress than just a bunch of new
> >languages (neither of them going beyond Lisp, a gold benchmark by which
> >every language is measured).
> >
> That's a subjective opinion. C# is perfectly good for anything anyone
> would want to do. So is Java, or Eiffel, and so on.

Lisp was invented in late 50s of last century. Common Lisp by 1984. Since
when can I buy a mature C# compiler, again? (Assuming, I'm dumb enough to
trust a single-source "standard", especially considered the source it is
coming from).

Please demonstrate any advances in C#, Java, Eiffel or any language which
have not been there in Lisp years to decades before.
> >Can we write useful, provably correct systems? No.
> >
> Why not? Take a look at or any similar project. Real
> things are getting done in a distributed way, more so than ten years ago.

Above sentence refers to useful, provably correct systems. We can't do
these (in fact I conjecture a useful, provably correct system is
impossible). I explicitly mentioned embarrassingly parallel codes -- such
as uses -- a few lines down.

> Progress is being made. From the way you're talking, it seems that you
> just aren't up to date. Check out such things as the MOSIX project (I

MOSIX? I don't recall mentioning transparent process migration in the
above. (Freezing objects, moving them over network and restarting them is
old hat for Lisp).

If I'm not up to date, you're apparently unaware of what much has been
achieved before, but never been used widely.

> use this at home). Also, check out Microsoft .NET, and C#. Those are
> significant progress.

Significant progresses as far as marketing and politics is concerned,
sure. None as far as Computer Science is concerned.

> Do you have anything but your pessamistic curmudgeony old views to
> back that up? Ten years ago, there were no standards for applications

There are two kinds of fools. One thinking, this is old, and good. Other
thinking, this is new, and better.

> running on PCs (I'm talking about MS-DOS). Now, it's possible to

If you want to restrict yourself to hobbyist systems (why?), I would start
with CP/M, not MS-DOS.

> create reliable programs that will run on any set of platforms, and
> interoperate, share data, and so on in ways that hadn't been dreamed
> of ten years ago, or possibly even five. Code reuse is lightyears


> ahead of ten years ago. With .NET's CTS, whatever you write in one
> language can be used in any other with no problems.

Thanks for leaping into proof with such abandon.

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