General

alt.lang.jre @ IBM developerWorks

Welcome to the new series alt.lang.jre. While most readers of this series are familiar with the Java language and how it runs on a cross-platform virtual machine (part of the JRE), fewer may know that the JRE can host languages besides the Java language. In its support for multiple languages (including some that pre-exist the Java platform) the JRE provides a comfortable entry point for developers coming to the Java platform from other backgrounds. It also gives developers who have rarely, if ever, strayed from the Java language the opportunity to explore the potential of other languages without sacrificing the familiarity of the home environment.

This series may become an amusing resource.

The first installment is about Jython.

Eric Gunnerson's JavaOne report

This may be of interest to LtU readers.

Most of the specific language features were discussed here previously, but the C# perspective may make this worth a look.

ILC2002 Proceedings and Videos

The proceedings of the International Lisp Conference 2002 are now freely available for download here. A selection of video-recorded talks are also downloadable (currently the Robocup ones). ILC2002 was previously covered on LtU in a great report from Oleg.
Enjoy!

Open-sourcing Java

Should Sun open-source Java? "The Big Question" keynote debate at JavaOne in San Francisco was devoted to this question.

Now, I don't really know what open-sourcing a language means, but this is obviously an important question...

The Java language specification and the JVM spec are both public. The Sun JVM isn't open source, but there are many other Java VMs out there.

The community process is controlled by Sun, but then again some process must exist if you want the language to remain cohesive, and someone or some group will have to control this process.

So it seems that this is ultimately about community dynamics. Languages create communities. Communities shape the way languages evolve.

We are not the only ones doing it...

The Secure Coding mailing list is having field day arguing about Marcus Ranum's ACM Queue article, Security: The root of the problem.

Normally, I wouldn't link to this thread since it isn't specifically about programming languages.

However, programming languages are being mentioned, and static analysis tools discussed (esp. SPARK). Moreover, I think the dynamics of the debate are quite similar to the dynamics of the ongoing (and eternal) debate in the discussion group regarding static typing. Perhaps, seeing this sort of quicksand action hapenning in a different context can help us learn how to focus PL-related debates and make them more productive.

Note: I am not trying to rain on anyone's parade. In fact, I think LtU is better than most other forums when it comes to this kind of debate. But non-productive debates on these issues are a common problem in PL discussions.

Pragmatic Programmers Interview

Nothing really new for the LtU audience in this interview with the Pragmatic Programmers, but it is interesting to read their views on programming language. This quote is nice, even if you aren't a Lisp fan:

Ultimately, it comes down to ease of expression. If I can express myself in code at a level closer to the problem domain, then I'm going to be more effective, and my code is likely to be easier to maintain and extend. Paul Graham makes a big deal out of the way Lisp helped him while building the software that became Yahoo Stores, and he's right. These languages, applied properly, are a strategic advantage. I know some companies are using them with great success. And you know -- they're keeping quiet about it.

They also have an interesting take on the publishing industry, which certainly in academic circles is having a harder time justifying its existence.

An Invitation to Ada 2005

A presentation about the additions and changes in Ada 2005.

It's interesting to see how Ada that once influenced C++, Java and eventually C# (e.g., generics, strong typing) is now being influenced by them (e.g., interfaces, container library, integration of tasking and inheritance).

As I've said here before, the Ada design process is quite interesting, seeing as most Ada users are quite conservative -- due to the fact thar they are building mission critical software -- while the language designers try to move the language forward without alienating its user base.

Sapir: Language, An Introduction to the Study of Speech

Thanks to the amazing Project Gutenberg, Edward Sapir's classic book on language is now available online.

True, this isn't about programming languages per se, but still an important work that some of you may want to check out.

In the Spirit of C

(via Keith Devens)

In the Spirit of C, by Greg Colvin.

A somewhat biased and over enthusiastic overview of the evolution of C and ilk.

I am sure LtU readers will find a lot they disagree with. I suggest starting with the quote from the ANSI C Rationale...

Shorts

A couple of short items.

  • ICLP'04 early registration is open. The accepted papers look intgeresting.
  • Jeremy Zawodny wonders whether the perl community is broken, and asks about the communities that formed around other scripting languages.
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