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19 points by pg 5156 days ago | link | parent

I don't feel any rush in producing new versions, just as I didn't feel any rush in releasing the first one. Lisp hackers have waited 50 years for a good implementation. That didn't kill Lisp. Hackers used to this idea aren't going to panic because Arc hasn't been updated for n months. And the ones who feel that an actively growing source tree is more important than the underlying language were in the wrong place to begin with.

14 points by stefano 5156 days ago | link

How are we supposed to look at Arc then? The problem doesn't lay only in the fact that no source has been written, but in the fact that who has full control over Arc doesn't discuss about the language with the community. Is Arc just a one-man work and just a way to show the world this work from time to time?

It's ridiculous that to bring you back in the forum we needed such a harsh post.


11 points by pg 5156 days ago | link

If I were you I'd look at it from the Lisp tradition: as part of a 50 year history with many dialects, rather than as an urgent effort to manage one particular implementation consisting of a huge pile of libraries on top of a badly designed language core.

People who want languages like that already have plenty of options, even Lisp dialects.


7 points by stefano 5155 days ago | link

I didn't mean to say that core language isn't important. It is important. My main point point is that the community should be able to partecipate in the design. This is why I've advocated a fork of Arc, because to improve the core of the language you need help from who will use the language. A prototype is a good way to make this happen even when you're in the design phase and not in the production phase, but it is useless without a communication channel between the designer and the users.


9 points by jimbokun 5156 days ago | link

Your mantra in your role running Y-Combinator is "make something people want."

Is Arc exempt from that?


17 points by pg 5156 days ago | link

You're forgetting two things.

1. The time scale. I don't want to make what people think they want right now. Following that recipe earlier would have got me Perl, which lost its lead to the language I would have gotten a little later, Python, which lost its lead to the language I would have gotten a little later, Ruby, which... See the pattern?

2. The audience. "Make something people want" is a recipe for companies. Their goal is to make a lot of money, which means aiming for a wide audience. That shouldn't necessarily be one's goal in every kind of work. It's ok to want to be Jane Austen instead of Perez Hilton, even though Perez Hilton is what most people want.


10 points by jimbokun 5156 days ago | link

"I don't want to make what people think they want right now."

Fair enough. I think this sentence pretty succinctly answers the questions in the original post of this discussion.


5 points by john_amendall 5156 days ago | link

Actually, it might be! PG doesn't need to make a living off of Arc.


3 points by cronin1024 5156 days ago | link

Yes and no - he may not be selling Arc itself, but his reputation as a Lisp expert is indeed on the line.


7 points by horia314 5156 days ago | link

hardly. I don't think anybody will thing less of him if Arc somehow fails. It was an ambitious project to begin with.


10 points by rntz 5156 days ago | link

I've got to say I agree with pg on this. It's more important that Arc turn out well in the long run than in the short run. Also, although Arc isn't moving very fast, I have to say that the more I actually program in it, the more I appreciate its design. I still find myself missing the lack of a proper library/module/namespace system, and of course given that some actual libraries would be useful, but that's about it for truly major issues.

That said, I do think pg could do with talking to the community a little more, and vice-versa.