[plt-scheme] xxx chooses MzScheme as preferred language

From: Abdulaziz Ghuloum (aghuloum at cs.indiana.edu)
Date: Fri Jun 2 00:34:52 EDT 2006

On Jun 1, 2006, at 1:23 PM, Joe Marshall wrote:

> On 5/31/06, Prabhakar Ragde <plragde at uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>> Obviously there are times when speed is the bottleneck and the 
>> deciding
>> factor. But I suspect we computer scientists tend to make it an issue
>> when it is not, simply because it is easier to compare hard numbers 
>> than
>> the more vague and softer qualities associated with the broader goals 
>> I
>> mentioned.
> What is the *fastest* Scheme implementation?
> What is the *most popular* Scheme implementation?
> If performance matters, why aren't these the same?


Which restaurant serves the *most delicious* food?

Which restaurant is the *most popular*? (i.e. serving most cows per 

If taste matters, why aren't these the same?

Simple, because there is more than one factor to take into account when 
chooses an implementation/restaurant.  Speed is only one factor and I 
think you're unaware of the other factors that determine the popularity 
an implementation/language.

I don't buy that performance doesn't matter; it's just not as important 
the other factors for people using PLT software.

I would guess that the largest portions of PLT users are students who 
DrScheme as part of their coursework.  Performance is perhaps the last
thing to matter for this group.  Casual programmers who play with Scheme
every now and then while reading SICP/HtDP don't care about performance
either.  People writing web-based applications and related stuff don't
care either since the bottleneck for these applications is usually the
speed of the network/database/... .

What remains is perhaps less than 1% of the Schemers who do care about
performance because their applications demand it.  To be popular, you
better focus your effort on catering to the needs of 99% of users.  The
other 1% can use whatever other implementation/language with negligible
overall effect on PLT's popularity.


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