dblack / wobblini.net wrote:
> I think Ruby is slightly older than Java, isn't it? :-)
Maybe ... Java is 1.5 and Ruby is 1.8.5, so by that measure, yes. I 
suppose I need to look up the history of Ruby. But I remember jumping on 
Java in the 1.1 days many years ago as a language I thought was *vastly* 
superior to Perl 4, and taking flames for saying so. The Perlists had 
their revenge though; I wrote one program in Java and that was it.

> You may have me beat.  My first was BASIC on a PDP-8, followed by
> BASIC and assembler on a PDP-10.  I think at least the '10 had
> integrated circuits :-)
I once had a boss who claimed to have worked on an IBM 1620. I think he 
was trying to impress us as being a "real programmer just like us." The 
lab where I worked on a 1620 got rid of it in 1964 ... I'm guessing he 
was in junior high school then. :)

> As for language geekdom: I feel like I used to be more than I am now,
> but it's more because Ruby stuff is keeping me so busy than because
> Ruby satisfies all my language interest.  In fact I've never wanted
> Ruby to take on Lisp macros, Python whitespace, Java-style typing,
> C-style comments, and all the rest of it.  Maybe there should be one
> or more kitchen-sink languages out there, but they should be written
> from scratch for that purpose.
A long time ago some computer scientist defined two types of languages 
-- "core" languages and "shell" languages. Lisp, Scheme and Forth are 
great examples of core languages ... just a few simple core concepts 
from which you can build mighty software. And the classic shell 
languages are PL/I and Ada ... just about anything you'd ever want to do 
is built into the language.

The languages most of us use these days are in between. The core is 
bigger than the core of Lisp or Forth -- it includes strings, various 
floating point numbers and math functions, arrays and usually hashes, 
and usually objects, classes of objects and methods. What Ruby has that 
many of them lack, however, is more or less explicit use of classical 
computer science concepts, usch as lambda and continuations.