[plt-scheme] Re: Change the World

From: Rohan Nicholls (rohan.nicholls at pareto.nl)
Date: Wed Mar 23 03:45:09 EST 2005

At Tue, 22 Mar 2005 13:51:43 -0500,
Guillaume Marceau wrote:
>   For list-related administrative tasks:
>   http://list.cs.brown.edu/mailman/listinfo/plt-scheme
> On Mon, 2005-03-21 at 10:14 -0500, Geoffrey Knauth wrote:
> > I'm trying to guess what makes it hard for Scheme to "catch on" in the 
> > mainstream.
> My pet theory is that it's very difficult to learn functional
> programming alone, on your own. You have to go to class and get it
> taught to you. Or you have to have a friend teaching it to you.
> Functional programming is greater than the sum of its parts. So, without
> someone to show you how the parts add up, it's difficult to get it on
> your own. 

Here is where I end up getting into trouble as I have no idea
whether I am a good programmer or not (no fp peer review), but I found
that functional programming was far more intuitive and easier to use
than OO or imperative.  This could be because I am a simple person,
and have an allergy to complexity.

I have had to teach myself, with a number of helpful books (print
and online), and found it more intuitive, easier to use and more
fun than the other two programming styles.

> With the current state of things, we don't have critical mass of
> functional programmers to overtake the inflow of self-taught imperative
> programmers. 

I think that this is definately true, and more and more as the
functional style proves itself in dealing with complexity, and
maintenance it will probably become more popular.  There seems to have
been a resurgence in interest in the functional languages and the lisp
family in particular lately, and much of it is coming from seasoned
programmers trying to find a better way that they intuitively feel is
possible.  So maybe this critical mass will come from the unexpected
end of the experience spectrum.

> Also, there is the R6RS problem. The Scheme community is so fragmented!
> Any pair of two Scheme coders have to overcome large differences in
> coding style just to be able to share code. And gratuitous usages of
> macros are not helping.
> For all its flaws, this is in fact Python's best feature. The coding
> style is well defined and well followed.

Which brings up an interesting question.  Are macros actually more
hinderance than help when looking at the problem from this


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