[TUHS] Happy birthday, Niklaus Wirth!

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Fri Feb 16 10:51:14 AEST 2018

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 7:01 PM, Dave Horsfall <dave at horsfall.org> wrote:

> On Wed, 14 Feb 2018, Toby Thain wrote:
>> ALGOL, one of the most influential languages ever, with just about every
>>> programming language in use today tracing its roots to it.
>> Worth mentioning one significant exception: the Lisp family.
> I know about LISP (and even used it); it's on my history list.
> Actually, I can't think of any language that derived exclusively from LISP
> (other than Scheme etc)...  Oh, and EMACS :-)

There were (and are!) a whole bunch of dialects of Lisp: Common Lisp and
Scheme might be the best known, with Clojure a modern entrant. Arc is sort
of a thing. Most folks know about emacs Lisp. All of these derive from the
original Lisp.

But there were a whole slew of historical dialects descended from Lisp 1.5:
MacLisp, InterLisp, FranzLisp, Lisp Machine Lisp, the original variant
implemented by Symbolics before they adopted Common Lisp, Portable Standard
Lisp...and any number of others that were implemented as extension
languages: AutoLisp from AutoCAD, the aforementioned Emacs Lisp, the
pseudo-Lisp from Gosling's Emacs, and plenty of others. And how about
implementations? VAX Lisp, LispWorks, Allegro, etc. I think the thing is
that "Lisp" isn't a single language, but rather a family of languages that
all share common features (code is data, macros, etc, etc, etc) with lots
of variation between them (I understand that there was serious argument
about whether integer literals should be written in octal in Common Lisp,
as they were in MacLisp. Somehow common sense prevailed).

So, how's this relevant to Unix? Well, I'd like to know more about the
historical interplay between the Unix and Lisp communities. What about the
Lisp done at Berkeley on the VAX (Franz Lisp).

One of the things that strikes me about Lisp and Unix is the conceptual
similarity between image based languages (like Lisp) with a REPL and the
Unix "process as virtual machine" model with a shell and set of utilities.
An image is a sort of virtual machine and a REPL is a sort of shell;
callable functions in the REPL are sort of like discrete programs in the
$PATH. To a first order approximation, at any rate.

So anyway...some of you who were there, was there cross-pollination? Was
Franz Lisp a thing Unix people at Berkeley played with, or was it mostly
Lisp people who just happened to be using Unix because VAXen were expensive?

        - Dan C.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20180215/c5e5d828/attachment.html>

More information about the TUHS mailing list