Несколько длинных цитат (но стоит прочесть целиком), особенно меня заинтересовавших (это не значит, что я согласен с процитированным, иногда - наоборот):
- ...One could actually argue—as I sometimes do—that the success of commercial personal computing and operating systems has actually led to a considerable retrogression in many, many respects.
You could think of it as putting a low-pass filter on some of the good ideas from the ’60s and ’70s, as computing spread out much, much faster than educating unsophisticated people can happen. In the last 25 years or so, we actually got something like a pop culture, similar to what happened when television came on the scene and some of its inventors thought it would be a way of getting Shakespeare to the masses. But they forgot that you have to be more sophisticated and have more perspective to understand Shakespeare. What television was able to do was to capture people as they were.
So I think the lack of a real computer science today, and the lack of real software engineering today, is partly due to this pop culture.
- ...Yes, actually both Lisp and Smalltalk were done in by the eight-bit microprocessor—it’s not because they’re eight-bit micros, it’s because the processor architectures were bad, and they just killed the dynamic languages. Today these languages run reasonably because even though the architectures are still bad, the level 2 caches are so large that some fraction of the things that need to work, work reasonably well inside the caches; so both Lisp and Smalltalk can do their things and are viable today. But both of them are quite obsolete, of course.
The stuff that is in vogue today is only about “one- half” of those languages. Sun Microsystems had the right people to make Java into a first-class language, and I believe it was the Sun marketing people who rushed the thing out before it should have gotten out. They made it impossible for the Sun software people to do what needed to be done.
- that was the big revelation to me when I was in graduate school—when I finally understood that the half page of code on the bottom of page 13 of the Lisp 1.5 manual was Lisp in itself. These were “Maxwell’s Equations of Software!” This is the whole world of programming in a few lines that I can put my hand over.
I realized that anytime I want to know what I’m doing, I can just write down the kernel of this thing in a half page and it’s not going to lose any power. In fact, it’s going to gain power by being able to reenter itself much more readily than most systems done the other way can possibly do.
All of these ideas could be part of both software engineering and computer science, but I fear—as far as I can tell—that most undergraduate degrees in computer science these days are basically Java vocational training.
I’ve heard complaints from even mighty Stanford University with its illustrious faculty that basically the undergraduate computer science program is little more than Java certification.
- In a history of Smalltalk I wrote for ACM, I characterized one way of looking at languages in this way: a lot of them are either the agglutination of features or they’re a crystallization of style. Languages such as APL, Lisp, and Smalltalk are what you might call style languages, where there’s a real center and imputed style to how you’re supposed to do everything. Other languages such as PL/I and, indeed, languages that try to be additive without consolidation have often been more successful. I think the style languages appeal to people who have a certain mathematical laziness to them.