Jason Nordwick wrote:

> 
> 
> Paul Lutus wrote:
>> 
>> In essence, this article advocates anarchy. The counter-evidence is to
>> ask which languages persist, and which fade away. Free-form languages,
>> languages that let you do whatever you please, tend to have short lives
>> or are quickly rendered incomprehensible because of the very freedoms
>> that originally made them appealing (Perl).
> 
> This seems to describe Ruby, and many here are very proud of how Ruby lets
> you redo any primative. I'm confused. Are you saying that Ruby doesn't
> allow something?

No, I was identifying Perl as a language sometimes sufficiently cryptic as
to be write-only.

>> Mathematical notation is extremely strict and slow to change.
> 
> Every book has their own mathematical notation. Beyond basic addition a
> (even then not always well defined when people leave out the vector
> notation and essentially vectorize the plus operator implicitly). Many
> math books are notorious for their poor notation and in lacking rigor.

Yes, true, but there really is a universally accepted mathematical notation.
There are many people who play with it as though it were free-form, but the
essential core remains much the same.

/ ...

> Language longevity seems to be based on the more nebulous but very real
> world impact the language makes on its ability to add libraries and
> functionality without making the language too complex. Perl failed, but C
> with its simple libraries seems to continue.

I think C survives only because of a huge legacy code base, not because of
any particular merit. The same can be said of Fortran.

-- 
Paul Lutus
http://www.arachnoid.com