[TUHS] Clueless programmers - was Re: Happy birthday, Niklaus Wirth!

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Fri Feb 16 12:55:35 AEST 2018

On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 09:51:21PM -0500, Toby Thain wrote:
> On 2018-02-15 9:41 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
> > On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 09:38:02PM -0500, Dan Cross wrote:
> >> On Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 8:56 PM, Lawrence Stewart <stewart at serissa.com>
> >> wrote:
> >>
> >>> ITA???s airline flight booking system, that was used by Orbitz and others
> >>> was pretty much entirely written in Common LISP, and it was certainly both
> >>> large and commercially successful.  Orbitz was bought by Google for $700
> >>> million.  I don???t know how much of the LISP survived sustained attention by
> >>> Google.
> >>>
> >>
> >> Google bought ITA, not Orbitz. Most of the logic in QPX is still in Common
> >> Lisp, but it's not what you'd call "idiomatic" CL code. If one reads a
> >> bunch of Paul Graham and Peter Norvig books and then gets onto QPX with the
> >> expectation of that sort of elegance, you end up pretty unhappy pretty
> >> quick. They do a lot of things very differently to squeeze as much
> >> performance as they can out of what has, historically speaking, been a
> >> fairly mediocre compiler.
> > 
> > Which is sort of my point.  I don't know all the details but lisp and 
> > performance is not a thing.  
> > 
> You can stop at "I don't know all the details". That meme about
> performance is not actually true, but it's popular among people who
> don't know Lisp technically or use it professionally.
> There are a number of mature Common Lisp compilers and some of them
> boast outstanding performance.

I'm fine with your claim but I'd like to see a pile of C code that was
rewritten in lisp and it is faster.  I'm 99.9% sure that's not a thing.

Lisp is fantastic for programmers who know how to use it, which is why 
so many people are lisp fanatics.  But performant it is not.  Feel free
to show me how I'm wrong, I love being wrong, that's where I learn.


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